At some point in your life you may have wondered what it might be like to be blind. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who is blind, or you’ve come across someone who is blind while you’ve been going about your day-to-day tasks. What would it be like to not be able to see your surroundings, your home or your loved ones? Just imagine how your life would change if you were blind.
Sadly, for some people this is reality. In fact, around 36,000 people in the UK are registered as blind or partially sighted; almost 25,000 of these people are children.
While many people – especially children – are blind because of uncontrollable circumstances, up to 50% of this sight loss could have been avoided with proper eye care.
The leading cause of blindness in the UK is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It used to be diabetes, but thanks to improved screening, for the first time in 50 years, it isn’t. Other significant causes are glaucoma, cataracts and refractive errors.
These are all conditions that could be detected at an early stage or managed with regular eye examinations.
And it’s not just your sight that blindness affects. Around half of blind or partially sighted people feel ‘moderately’ or ‘completely’ cut off from the world around them. Older people with sight loss are three times more likely to suffer from depression than those with good vision. And only one third of people who are blind or partially sighted and of working age are in employment.
At Eye Emporium, we recommend that people have their eyes thoroughly examined once every two years as a very minimum. In some cases, annual eye examinations are necessary.
An eye test is nothing to worry about. An expert optician will talk you through the whole process from start to finish, and there will be nothing uncomfortable or invasive.
Your eye examination should be tailored to your own needs. For example, if you have a family history of glaucoma, although glaucoma can be detected in a routine eye exam, you will be invited to have an eye test once a year so that any changes can be monitored.
If your optician offers retinal photography, go for that option. There may be an extra charge for this, but the peace of mind it offers is priceless. Retinal photography is where your optician takes a photograph of the back of your eye with a state-of-the-art camera. These cameras are able to see far more of your eye than a standard eye test can, meaning that problems – like AMD – can be spotted when they show their first signs – often before you’ve even noticed any symptoms. And these photographs can be stored on your optician’s computer so that they can compare them each time you visit.
Don’t put your sight at risk by missing important eye examinations. Yes, it may be a pain, and often it can be hard to find the time, but if you can find an opticians practice with a friendly, enthusiastic and caring team, your experience will be a lot simpler. You might even enjoy your test!
If you’re concerned about your vision, or to arrange your next eye examination, simply call the friendly team of experts at Eye Emporium on 0800 020 9202.