National Eye Health Week – your vision matters!

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
Research from the College of Optometrists shows that 84% of adults value their sight more than any other sense, yet many people are living with poor vision and putting their sight at risk because they don’t get their eyes checked. eye2During National Eye Health Week (21–27 September) the Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding everyone of the importance of good eye health and the need for everyone to have their eyes tested every two years. Dr Jackie McCall, Consultant in Public Health at the PHA, said, “This week offers a valuable opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of having regular eye tests. “Over 50% of sight loss is preventable, so ensuring that we all have regular eye examinations will help prevent, or limit, the damage to their sight caused by certain eye conditions. “Regular sight checks are important for two reasons. Firstly, having your vision corrected can improve the quality of day-to-day life, and secondly, perhaps more importantly, regular sight tests can mean early detection of conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration which could lead to sight loss. In addition, evidence points to poor vision as a risk factor for falls. “An optometrist may also be able to spot the signs of some broader health conditions with symptoms that affect the eyes, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Eye examinations for children are vital to ensure that any visual problems such as squint, lazy eye (amblyopia) or short-sightedness (myopia) are detected and treated early to optimise vision”. Other important steps people can take to help keep their eyes healthy include: • Stopping smoking. For help and advice see • Protecting eyes in bright sunlight or glare. • Eating well and taking regular exercise. For help and advice see • Wearing safety goggles to protect your eyes while doing DIY and/or sporting activities. • Taking regular breaks if working at a computer screen, wearing goggles when necessary in the workplace. The Health and Social Care Board commissions NHS eye examinations from over 260 easily-accessible registered optometry practices in Northern Ireland. For information on who is eligible for an NHS eye examination please
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