Many people aim to lose weight and get fit in the New Year, but in their quest for a healthier lifestyle they often overlook eyes.
Regular eye tests not only show whether you need glasses or a change of prescription, they can also pick up other health problems.
Debbie Bathgate, lens product manager from eyewear manufacturer Rodenstock, explained: “Your eyesight may be fine but that doesn’t necessarily mean your eyes are healthy.
“Regular eye tests can pick up early signs of conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure and macular degeneration, before you are aware of any symptoms.”
According to a survey by the UK Vision Strategy, sight is the sense that nine out of 10 people most fear losing. However many eye conditions are easily treatable or avoidable altogether if detected early enough.
Debbie said: “Women are often responsible for organising healthcare for the whole family, yet eye tests don’t seem to be a high priority. We all know we should see the dentist regularly but a visit to the optician commonly gets forgotten. Regardless of age and health, eyes should be examined every two years.”
Some sight-threatening diseases, such as glaucoma, have no symptoms. Debbie said: “Some people can lose up to 40 per cent of their sight before they realise there’s a problem. Anyone with a family history of eye disease should be extra vigilant. If you’re over 40 and a parent, sibling or child of a glaucoma patient, you are entitled to free tests.”
Today’s hectic lifestyle puts extra strain on our eyes too. Debbie explained: “Many of us sit at computer screens all day which puts extra pressure on our eyes. Simply taking a break every hour can help our eyes cope with the strain.
“The good news is that popular New Year’s resolutions, such as losing weight and quitting smoking, can in some cases halve someone’s chances of developing a sight condition that could lead to blindness. And by having regular eye tests we are giving ourselves and our families the best chance of having a healthy 2012.”