Promotional feature with Optegra Eye Health Care
Eyesight is our most valued sense and yet new research by specialist eye hospital group, Optegra Eye Health Care, reveals that nearly half (44 per cent) of UK adults are currently concerned about their eyesight and only eight per cent say they have perfect vision.
Working from home, increased use of screens and many months socialising online – it seems the global pandemic has affected every aspect of life with our vision being one of the many indirect victims of the virus.
Yet poor vision stops people living life to the full so it’s important to protect our vision to enhance quality of life every day. And here is how!
As eye health specialists, Optegra strives to ensure all our patients, and people in the wider community, become aware of any changes in the appearance of their eyes or their vision which could turn out to be sight-threatening conditions or even cancer.
We are also here for all your vision correction needs, from laser eye surgery and lens replacement to cataract procedures. Our top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes and great patient service.
How can we all see better for longer?
Maintaining good eye health needn’t be an onerous task – there are small steps we can all take to keep our eyes in optimum condition.
Leading ophthalmic surgeon and Medical Director for Optegra, Mr Amir Hamid, suggests we think about these steps – your eyes will thank you!
Look in to my eyes
It’s time to reacquaint yourself with your optometrist and book in for an eye test. Optegra’s research shows that 31 per cent of adults have not had an eye health check although they know their sight has deteriorated during the pandemic.
But optometrists and eye surgeons agree this is the single most important step you can take to protect your sight – as many of the issues that can affect vision and eye health across a lifetime can happen very slowly and silently, so everyone should have their eyes checked regularly every two years by a healthcare professional. A lot of these issues can then be spotted early and be treated to prevent long-term adverse effects on vision.
Wearing sunglasses is extremely important as eyes are particularly sensitive to ultraviolet light. People are aware of the damage that high UV can cause to skin with sunburn, but it is equally damaging to the eyes. No need to worry on a bright winter day – but on the days when you could get sunburnt, definitely wear sunglasses as well as sunscreen.
Keep it clean
One lesson the pandemic has taught us is the importance of washing our hands to avoid spreading germs – in fact 61 per cent of adults now wash their hands much more since the emergence of Covid. This is good news for our eyes!
Poor hygiene can lead to eye infections but this can be avoided by washing your hands before applying make-up or changing contact lenses. It’s also important not to share eye make-up with friends and to regularly refresh eye products, always throwing them out if they are past their use by date.
You are what you eat
We all know that eating a balanced diet containing plenty of fruit and veg is good for our overall health and wellbeing, but few people know that maintaining a good diet is also important for our eyes, as vision can benefit from the antioxidants and nutrients contained within certain foods.
A simple rule to follow is the traffic light diet – eating red, amber (well, orange/yellow) and green foods can boost our supply of essential vitamins and minerals, plus it could prevent the early onset of cataracts and other eye conditions.
Examples of foods to add to your shopping list include:
- Red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and salmon – the antioxidant properties in Vitamin C help prevent or delay the onset of cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Salmon also contains lots of Omega-3 to help prevent dry eyes.
- Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and carrots – Beta Carotene is the chemical nutrient that assists with maintaining good vision and citrus fruits are also full of Vitamin C
Spot the signs
It can be easy to overlook small changes in our eyesight or eye. Often these changes are put down to getting old or using computer screens more regularly. But it is vitally important to report any changes to your optometrist – whilst they may be nothing serious, early detection and treatment is key.
It is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of eye cancer so you can look out for any changes and take any action that is needed. Here is a useful checklist – have you experienced any of these symptoms recently?
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Flashes or floaters
- Pain or redness
- A change in the appearance of the eye
- Lumps on the eyelid or area around the eye
- Inflammation or eye irritation
- A dark spot on your iris
As with many cancers, early detection is key so take time out of your day to remember the CAN in cancer:
- C is for Check – check your eyes and vision regularly. Has anything changed?
- A is for Action – if you notice any changes then take action, make an appointment to see your GP or optometrist
- N is for Never – never ignore symptoms which are new to you
Thankfully eye cancer is rare, with around 750 cases diagnosed in the UK every year. There are a number of different cancers that affect the eyes including eye melanoma (the most common), squamous cell carcinoma, lymphoma and retinoblastoma (a childhood cancer).
How can Optegra help with my vision needs?
Whilst maintaining good eye health is extremely important, you may be one of the 74 per cent of Brits who either wear glasses or contact lenses or who have already had laser eye surgery. If you are considering this option to correct your vision, it can be confusing looking through the options so here is a useful guide to some of the treatments available at Optegra:
- LASIK is the most popular type of laser eye surgery – a laser creates a flap which is gently lifted so the cornea can be reshaped.
- SMILE, which stands for SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction, is considered the ‘keyhole’ of laser eye surgery. It is a minimally invasive, bladeless form of the surgery which means it heals incredibly quickly and can treat people with very high prescription short-sightedness.
- PRESBYOND is one of the most recent laser eye surgery options and is ideal for people over 40 whose eyes naturally begin to need reading glasses. It’s a fantastic solution for many people who may have been told they are too old for laser eye surgery; and it results in excellent vision at all distances.
Rest assured, you don’t need to personally worry about which option to go for – leave that to your clinical team to recommend, based on their extensive knowledge and expertise, and their interpretation of your consultation diagnostic testing. And your initial Optegra consultation is free!
I think I have a cataract – what should I do?
If you are experiencing cloudy or blurred vision, glare from bright lights or headaches, you should book an appointment to see your optometrist as soon as possible – an eye test can confirm the presence of cataract or whether your symptoms are a result of another eye condition. The optometrist will then refer you to an eye health specialist, either on the NHS or a private specialist such as Optegra, who can advise you of the treatment options available.
Optegra also now provides NHS cataract surgery and commits treatment within just 4-6 weeks of referral – so ask to be referred to one of our specialist hospitals to avoid delay!
What are the treatment options for cataract at Optegra?
Whilst the only treatment for cataract is surgery, technology has advanced to such an extent that there are now a range of lens implants to choose from whether your priority is short, middle or long distance – or any combination of these.
In standard cataract surgery, as offered on the NHS, the natural lens of the eye, which has clouded due to the cataract, is replaced with a monofocal Intraocular Lens (IOL). This clear, permanent artificial lens means any existing or future long or short-sightedness problems will still exist.
Alternatively, patients can ‘upgrade’ and choose refractive cataract surgery, where the replaced lens is one of the most advanced technology lenses available and tailor made to suit your prescription. This can help eliminate dependence on glasses at the same time as removing the cataract.
As a specialist eye hospital group, Optegra Eye Health Care is proud to support the NHS in providing cataract surgery services at our ten major eye hospitals and clinics across the country and helping tackle the large post-Covid waiting lists for eye surgery. This means NHS patients can be referred to an Optegra clinic to be treated within weeks rather than months or years.
To find out more about all things eye health please visit www.optegra.com and to discuss your personal eye health please call 0800 077 3272.
 The College of Optometrists; http://www.wcb-ccd.org.uk/perspectif/library/BEH_Report_FINAL%20(1).pdf