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by Eye Health Week category: Health
The UK’s eye health is out of focus
Our ageing population and unhealthy lifestyles are fuelling a steep decline in our vision. Right now almost two million people in the UK are living with sight loss and forecasters predict this figure could increase by a third by 2030.
Poor uptake of sight tests is probably the biggest risk to the nation’s eye health with our research showing almost 14 million of us (13.8M) fail to have our eyes checked once every two years, as recommended.
Sight tests are essential health checks. Not only can they detect eye conditions, such as glaucoma, before they cause irreversible vision loss, they can also uncover signs of general health problems including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
The worrying truth is many of us only visit our optometrist when we are aware something is wrong and sadly this can mean the damage is already done.
National Eye Health Week seeks to change this by raising awareness of the need to take care of your eyes and make sight tests as much a part of your healthcare regime as having dental check-ups or a smear test.
A routine eye check takes just 30 minutes and for millions of us it’s absolutely free – paid for either by the NHS or employer.
Regular eye checks are particularly important for children, the over 60s, people with a family history of eye disease, those with underlying systemic health conditions, such as diabetes and people of certain ethnic origins who have an increased risk of eye disease.
Poor lifestyle choices pose another big threat to the UK’s eye health. Sight loss linked to obesity and smoking is a growing trend amongst younger generations.
A poor diet, a high Body Mass Index (BMI), failing to protect your eyes from UV and a sedentary lifestyle can all have a negative affect your eye health.
As can smoking – smokers have a substantially increased risk of suffering common sight threatening eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
So, during National Eye Health Week we’ll be encouraging people to make sure they’ve had a recent sight test and explaining how making simple lifestyle changes could really benefit their eye health both now and in the future.
For more information about caring for your eyes go to www.visionmatters.org.uk
Eye Health Week
National Eye Health Week is an annual public health campaign run by Eye Health UK (registered charity number 1086146). The Week aims is to encourage more people to have regular sight tests and inspire them to make healthier lifestyle choices that benefit their eye health
We will do this by working in partnership with others, as together we can achieve more
Our actions will improve the UK’s eye health, contribute towards a reduction in avoidable blindness and enhance people’s everyday lives.
National Eye Health Week 2017 takes place 18 – 24 September.