New research suggests as many as 39,000 Shoalhaven residents aged over-40 are currently experiencing issues with their sight, but are failing to get their eyes tested.
July is Eye Health Month, and Nowra optometrist Louise Winkler has urged residents to “stop putting their sight at risk”.
With uncorrected vision problems being the number one cause of vision loss in Australia, Ms Winkler has warned that if Shoalhaven residents don’t take their eye health seriously, the number of people over the age of 40 with vision related problems will rise exponentially over the coming years.
“I am really concerned by the number of locals that aren’t getting their eyes tested regularly, especially given that 60 per cent of the people in Shoalhaven are at that age where their eyes are starting to deteriorate,” she said.
“Medicare figures suggest as many as 58 per cent of Australians over the age of 40 are not following the industry recommendation of having their eyes tested at least every two years.”
Ms Winkler said people were “unnecessarily” losing their vision as eye health was not treated as a priority.
“There is a problem, not just in Shoalhaven but across Australia, with people not understanding the crucial importance of preventive eye care,” she said.
From the age of 40 our eyes start to change and by the age of 65 almost all of us will need to wear glasses, according to Ms Winkler.
“Often vision deterioration can be gradual and eye diseases can have no symptoms early on which is why we encourage people over the age of 40 to have their eyes tested by an optometrist every two years,” she said.
“As a Shoalhaven local myself, I want to encourage locals to treat their eyes like they the would the rest of their health.
I think a lot of people don’t take prevenative measures to look after their eye health because there is not the same level of awareness as other health conditions and people often have no idea they may have a problem that could result in them losing their sight little by little.”
New research from Specsavers shows as many as one in five people can’t see things in the distance as well as they used to, a big concern for safety on our roads, while a third of people reported keeping concerns to themselves about not being able to see things as well close-up.
“Having your eyes tested every two years is the best way to protect your sight and eye health. As we get older our vision starts to deteriorate whether we like it or not and we become more at risk of developing eye diseases which often have no visible symptoms,” Ms Winkler said.
“By getting your eyes tested every two years we’re able to compare your scans and map any changes to your eye health over time.”