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National Eye Health Week

20 to 26 September

National eye health week logoYour vision really matters. Sight is the sense people fear losing the most, yet many of us don’t know how to look after our eyes – National Eye Health Week aims to change all that! This week we will be providing you with information we hope you will find both helpful and informative. From Warning Signs to Free Eye tests, Work protection and Driving.

Text eye sos are you paying attention to what your eyes are telling you? Illustration of megaphoneMonday 20 September - Warning Signs

We begin with some warning signs:

  • Squinting a lot
  • Dry, red or itchy eyes
  • Struggling with glare
  • Headaches, blurred vision
  • Flashes of light, floaters (or more than usual) or spot

For children there may be other or additional signs to indicate they are struggling with their sight:

  • Discharge from eye
  • Drooping eyes
  • Reguarly tilting their head side to side or up and down
  • Struggling to keep track of where they are on a page
  • Short attention span 

If you spot any of these warning signs a visit to the optician is vital. However even if you are not experiencing any of these signs visting an optician regularly is very important as not only do opticians test to check if you need glasses they also exam the health of your eyes to check for any early signs of eye conditions such as Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration and can even diagnose other health conditions such as cancer. Visit American Academy of Ophthalmology for surprising list of conditions that can be diagnosed through an eye test.

Tuesday 21 September - Eye Tests

Text who can have a NHS eye test with website link Many people feel they are unable to have their eyes tested as they can't afford it. But the NHS offer free sight tests, provided you meet the necessary criteria. You can find out if you qualify by visiting the NHS website. Your optician will also be able to advise whether you qualify for a free NHS Eye Test.

What if you are unable to visit an optician? Here are three opticians who can provide a free NHS eye test in your own home, if you are eligible.

1. A1 Opticians - 0800 023 4964
2. The Outside Clinic - 0808 239 7652
3. Specsavers - 0800 198 1132

The Outside Clinic can still visit you at home for a cost of £30 if you are not eligible for a free NHS eye test.

Did you know if you have an eye condition and are struggling with tasks you can be referred to the NHS Low Vision Clinic for a free assessment? They will help you make the most of your remaining vision by assessing what optical aids, such as magnifiers, would be of most benefit and can provide a magnifier to you on free loan. Your GP or Consultant can refer you to the Clinic for an appointment.

Wednesday 22 September - Eye Protection

Office image, post it note with blink on it, photo of glasses, hot air balloon, lightbulb, kermit toy and text safe office eyesHas too much screen time given you headaches, watery eyes, blurred vision and diziness? If so always make sure your follow the office safe practice guides such as taking regular breaks (follow the 20-20-20 rule, look away from your screen at a spot at least 20m away from you for 20 seconds every 20 minutes), enlarging the font, buying glasses to protect your eyes from screen glare, blinking and make sure you have good lighting around you.

Photo of different industries and text Always ear the correct safety eyewareWearing the correct eye safety protection for non office work is essential. Many people wear eyeware that doesn't fit properly. But accidents can and do happen in the blink of an eye and often because people think 'it will only take a minute' or 'these will be alright.' Even when using staple guns, which cause numerous eye punctures, you would be best to wear eye protection. Protect your eyes and always wear the correct fitting eyeware.

Thursday 23 September - Live well, See well

Text says eat well, stay hydrated and get active with illustrations of food, water and children skippingThere are certain food that are beneficial for our eyes, including leafy green vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, cold-water fish with omega-3 fatty acids, orange-coloured vegetables and fruits with vitamin A. Your retina needs plenty of vitamin A to help turn light rays into the images we see. Without enough vitamin A, your eyes can’t stay moist enough to prevent dry eye.  A more extensive list of foods that can help your eyes can be found on American Academy of Ophthalmology website.

Exercise helps to keep our organs in good working order and our blood and oxygen levels flowing. It can help lower your Intraocular levels which has been shown to help people with glaucoma; improve the blood flow to the retina and Optic nerve, boost our immunity and keep that dreaded middle aged spread away. It will strengthen our muscles and bones, help to improve our balance, which in turn can help to prevent falls, as well as making us feel better in ourselves, provided of course, we don’t overdo it.

Without water our bodies would fail to function and so it makes perfect sense that water is important for our eyes. It acts as a shock absorber inside our eyes and the Vitreous Humour which fills the space between the lens and the retina, is 99% water. Some foods contain over 90% water and you can find a list of these on Healthline.

Friday 24 September - Leisure eye protection

Eye protection in the sporting arena is becoming more common as a result of eye injuries, some of them horrific, running into the tens of thousands each year, from bleeding inside the eye, retinal detachments, corneal abrasions and damage to the iris. Sport is played at such a fast pace with objects coming at you with such force and speed, that the players reactions need to be lightening quick to avoid injury. But even a poke, or an elbow in your eye can happen in a split second and ruin a promising career for life. Eye shields with polycarbonate lenses are said to offer the best protection for the eyes as they are impact resistant, have built in UVA protection and are scratch resistant. Always check at the beginning of your season that your goggles and helmets still fit you properly and your goggles are not scratched.

Colourful illustration of the heads of people wearing sunglasses with text safe eyes in the sunSunglasses play a very important role in protecting our eyes from UV light and extended exposure to UV rays has been linked to eye conditions such as AMD and cataracts. It is important to make sure you buy ones that have a CE mark or are marked as British Standard BS ISO 12312-1E. For winter and beach sun, make sure your glasses block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays and screen out 75% to 90% of visible light, as reflected sunlight from snow and water can be more harmful for your eyes. 

Saturday 24 September - Eyes in your daily life

There is increasing evidence that some medications can cause blurred vision, cataracts, and can be in some instances, a high risk to those with glaucoma. Dr Gans from The Cleveland Clinic advises that “if you do experience a problem (with your new perscription), talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication, but don’t stop the medication without your doctor’s advice". Your doctor can assess whether the medication is the cause and sometimes the benefits of the medication outweigh the side effects. Always read the warning labels too, especially if you have a condition such as glaucoma or diabetes; a variety of medications have warnings saying that patients with glaucoma shouldn’t take them. A new prescription can in many cases reverse any side effects incurred.

Research shows that crash risk is heightened by poor vision. If you can't see very well, you may not see a hazard or person in time to stop, or you may not be able to respond to the environment around you at all. Road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties in the UK per year. One in eight of the drivers surveyed,12% admitted not visiting the optician for five years or more, or never, and 4% the equivalent to more than 1.5 million UK drivers, have never had their eyes tested. Brakes, RSA, Specsavers driver survey.

Sunday 26 September - Coming to the end

Here are 101 amazing eye facts for you to enjoy and then why not take a few minutes to think about what your eyesight means to you.

If you have any questions about your vision you can contact us for information.