Regular Eye Tests Save Lives!

You may – we hope – have heard how important regular eye tests are; but a recent news story has reiterated it once more.  In fact, the story demonstrates just how vital eye tests are – and how they can even save lives.

Your Eyes Really Are A Window…

…to your health at least. And no-one knows this better than 13 year old James Morley from Nottinghamshire.  Back in 2012, James was taken to visit his doctor several times after complaining about breathlessness, lethargy, and unusual temperature spikes.  His mother found these symptoms odd (from her usually up-beat and active son) but the doctor sent them away, saying that James was fine.  One doctor did agree to perform some tests on James, but none showed anything serious and, once more, they were sent home.

Rose-Tinted Vision…

It was not long after this that James began to complain of his vision being tinted pink.  Frustrated and angry that so little was being done about her sons symptoms, Mrs Morley took James to see a local optometrist, Sunny Boyal.  After describing James’ symptoms, Boyal agreed to see James immediately, and it’s a good thing that he did.

Boyal found a large haemorrhage and oedema (fluid build-up) on James’ left eye, and referred him to King’s Mill hospital in Mansfield for further investigation.  It was here that James was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer: Philadelphia positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.   Thankfully, the cancer was caught early enough to be treatable and two years on, James is in remission and is doing well.  His mother heralds optometrist Sunny Boyal a hero.

A Reminder Of The Importance Of Eye Tests

© John Angerson  ICR 131113London Vision ClinicA story like this is obviously a more extreme example of the importance of eye exams – but it certainly serves to remind us of how important it is to check for those conditions that may not be immediately obvious on the surface (Professor Reinstein has spoken in detail about the importance of getting checked for glaucoma – the ‘silent blinding disease’).

In fact, the World Health Organisation estimates that around 80% of all blindness and vision loss is preventable – a scary statistic that is enough to make one wonder why eye tests are not more widely advertised, or more commonly undertaken.  Contrary to popular belief, and as this news story testifies, eye tests are not simply about vision correction or wearing glasses.  Optometrists can identify a range of diseases through the eye, including glaucoma, diabetes and macular degeneration.

And, as Professor Reinstein reminds us:

It’s essential that people over the age of 40 get in-depth eye examinations by an optometrist, not just a routine sight test at a conveyor-belt optician … Everyone should have proper eye exams: once in their 20s, once in their 30s and then every two to three years after the age of 40.

So next time you get a reminder that your eye exam is due, don’t just ignore it – you never know, it might just save your life.