What your eyes can reveal about your health
Today is World Sight Day, an important opportunity to raise awareness of causes of avoidable blindness and the importance of having your eyes tested. According to Specsavers Ópticas, millions of people have missed out on vital eye tests during lockdown, potentially putting their eyesight and wider health at risk.
Judith Borland, store director of Specsavers Ópticas in Fuengirola, says: ‘Fifty percent of sight loss is avoidable with early detection, however, during the pandemic many people may not have had access to these diagnostic tests. Not only does this mean their eyesight is at risk but potentially other aspects of their health too.
‘That’s because while there are several changes we may notice in our vision which could be a sign of a wider health condition, there are also some things that can only be detected during an eye test.
‘It is important to make an appointment with your optometrist if you are seeing certain things, such as red spots on the front of your eyes, persistent floaters, or notice changes with your eyes such as blurred vision, or yellowing of the eyes. These things can denote health issues from high blood pressure and cholesterol, to liver issues or diabetic retinopathy. However, it is also important to keep up your regular eye checks – even if you don’t think there is anything wrong with your vision – because something could be happening which you are completely unaware of.’
For World Sight Day, Specsavers Ópticas has shared four conditions that can be detected during an eye test to support the IAPB’s mission to ask people to ‘pledge to take an eye exam – and encourage others to do the same’ this October:
Glaucoma – Glaucoma is often symptomless as it develops so gradually. That’s why it is often referred to as the silent thief of sight. It is one of the leading causes of blindness, however, if it is identified in its early stages it can be successfully managed. Regular eye examinations are key to detecting it.
Diabetic retinopathy – In its early stages diabetic retinopathy usually doesn’t pose any noticeable symptoms, so an eye test can pick it up before you do. As the condition affects small blood vessels in the eye, damaging the retina, your optometrist can look for early characteristic changes, such as tiny leaks from these damaged vessels.
High blood pressure – During an eye test, your optometrist might spot signs of high blood pressure, through observing the eye’s blood vessels to see if they have narrowed, changed shape or started leaking.
Tumours – While an eye test can look for any cancers of the eye such as melanomas, it will sometimes reveal signs of possible brain tumours. Swelling in the optic nerves can be visible during an eye test and can sometimes indicate that a brain tumour is present. Specsavers Ópticas stores can be found in Fuengirola and Marbella on the Costa del Sol. For more information or to request an appointment at your local store, visit www.specsavers.es