We all know how important it is to take care of our eyes, but you won't believe the results from this shocking research from Vision Direct. They uncovered that one in seven Brits haven't had an eye-test in the last five years! And when putting the public to the test, they found people mistook common eye conditions for the names of dinosaurs!
The study of 2,000 British adults found that two of the most common eye conditions, presbyopia (short-sightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness), were a source of confusion to many. Almost 1.8 million believed hyperopia was a region in ancient Egypt while a similar number were under the impression that presbyopia was a blockbuster sci-fi movie.
Everything you need to know about Glaucoma
Most of us have heard of glaucoma – the name of a group of eye conditions which cause a build-up of pressure within the fluid-filled chamber at the front of the eye. This increased pressure, caused by problems with drainage of fluid from your eye, can lead to damage to the light-sensitive membrane at the back of your eye and the optic nerve, which carries signals about vision back to your brain.
Glaucoma tends to affect both eyes, but may be more severe or start earlier in one. There are four different types: chronic open-angle glaucoma, primary angle-closure glaucoma, secondary glaucoma (which develops after another condition has damaged the eye such as an injury or inflammation) and developmental glaucoma (a rare condition in babies).
Chronic open-angle glaucoma is most common, affecting nearly half a million people in the UK. The risk increases with age. About one in 50 people over 40 have chronic open-angle glaucoma, and one in ten over 75. It’s caused by a partial blockage of the drainage channels in the front of your eye, which leads to a gradual build-up in pressure.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is less common. It may develop slowly, but importantly it can develop very rapidly with a sudden painful build-up of pressure in the eye, causing significant damage. It is more common in women.
In many cases, you’ll be unaware that there is raised pressure in your eye. From middle age onwards, the pressure in your eyes will be checked during a routine eye test. Eye tests are free on the NHS from 60, and from 40 in those at increased risk of glaucoma.
Symptoms to be aware of include sudden and severe pain and redness in your eyes, with headache, and blurred or reduced vision and a ‘halo’ effect around lights. Symptoms may come and go after a few hours, but each time there will be damage to your eye so get it checked out quickly.
The diagnosis is fairly easy to make, but needs to be confirmed by an ophthalmologist who will examine your eyes with a slit lamp and a special lens to look at the outflow channels of your eye, your optic nerve and to check your peripheral vision as well as measuring the pressures in your eye.
Your ophthalmologist may recommend eye drops to reduce fluid or prevent inflammation. In some cases laser surgery may be used to make a small hole in the iris and allow fluid to drain more freely. If the condition is diagnosed early, and treatment started quickly, it’s possible to prevent long-term damage to the eyes – so get checked!
Q I read recently that fat is good for your after all – is this correct?
Dr Trisha says: This apparent about-turn on fat came from a large overview of data from 72 studies, which found that neither the total amount of saturated fat eaten, nor levels of saturated fat measured in the bloodstream, showed any association with heart disease. But experts from the British Heart Foundation warn that there still isn’t enough evidence to be clear how much fat we should eat.
Stick with the advice that came from the huge amount of research showing that reducing saturated fat intake will lower blood cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Try to restrict your intake of processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, packaged snacks and puddings and choose unprocessed foods with unsaturated oils such as nuts, fish, vegetable oils, as well as lots of fruit and veg.
- Dr Trisha writes a column every fortnight in Yours magazine. Ask Dr Trisha about your health problems by emailing email@example.com.