People over 40 risking their sight

People over the age of 40 are risking their sight, and possibly their lives, by failing to have regular eye examinations, according to a survey conducted by the UK’s largest health cash plan provider, Simplyhealth. 

The company’s advisory research panel (ShARP) questioned 1,000 people aged between 40 and 75 about their vision and attitudes to regular eye checks and found that one in seven were driving with less than perfect sight, ‘endangering themselves and other road users.’
Two out of five respondents (41%) admitted to noticing deterioration in their vision, but had done nothing about it. A third said they squinted when they struggled to make out a menu or a sign, while one in five asked someone else to read it and one in eight borrowed someone else’s glasses. 
However, most recognised the benefits of regular checks, and knew that opticians could not only detect signs of eye problems such as detached retinas, as well as potentially life-limiting conditions such as diabetes.
Despite this, 53% of survey respondents said that they left an eye examination for up to five years and 8% said they had never visited an optician for a routine sight test.
One in 10 thought failing vision was an inevitable part of ageing and they did not need an expert ‘to tell them their sight was not as good as it once was.’ However, one in eight said they were put off by worries about the cost.
Commenting on the poll, GP and ShARP member, Dr Gill Jenkins, said: “When I look at this data, of great concern as a GP is the fact that 99% of respondents in the ShARP research failed to identify the most common cause of blindness in the UK, age related macular degeneration. And only a third (31%) knew what the condition was.”
She added: “This has serious implications as early diagnosis can slow loss of sight. In the case of wet AMD, the sooner treatment is started, the greater the chance it will work.” 
More information about the different types of eye examination at Hammond Opticians can be found here.


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