Optometrist warns about the dangers of missing eye health checks

Rene Moor, optometrist at Observatory the Opticians. Picture courtesy of Observatory.

Rene Moor, optometrist at Observatory the Opticians. Picture courtesy of Observatory. - Credit: Archant

How often do you check the pressure in your car tyres, or have your blood pressure measured? What about your eye pressure? If the pressure in your eye is too high it can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve leading to loss of vision. This is a disease called glaucoma.

All too often people do not have an eye health check until they realise that something is seriously wrong with their vision. This is often too late as the damage cannot be repaired.

Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight for a good reason, as the brain fills in the missing parts of vision and it isn't until there is significant sight loss that a person thinks to visit an optometrist who can help to detect what is happening. However, if detected early enough, glaucoma can be managed and useful sight can usually be maintained throughout life.

The tests are quick, simple and painless. A visit to your local optometrist is all that is needed to see if you are at risk of glaucoma. There are different tests which can indicate the likelihood of glaucoma. Looking at the appearance of the main nerve at the back of the eye, called the optic nerve, can show if it looks healthy or not. Measuring the pressure in the eye, often referred to as the puff of air test, can indicate if the pressure is too high in your eyes. Checking the field of vision can show if damage has already occurred causing a visual field defect. Special 3D scans with an OCT can also measure the thickness of the tissue at the back of the eye and indicate if it is abnormally thin which can be a very early indication of glaucoma. If your optometrist finds any of these signs they will discuss them with you and decide whether you need to be referred to the eye hospital for further tests and treatment.

Everyone should have an eye health check every two years or more frequently if advised by a health professional. Don't wait until it's too late.

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Rene Moor


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