National Eye Health Week 2022
September 19th-25th marks National Eye Health Week 2022. This week aims to raise awareness of the importance of taking care of your eyes, promoting a healthy lifestyle and regular eye health checks for all.
There are many health conditions and other factors that can affect the health of the eyes. It is estimated that 2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss noticeable enough to impact their lives every day. It is also believed almost half of these cases could have been avoided.*
On this page we aim to inform you about various conditions that can cause issues with eye health and how to avoid eye problems developing or worsening where possible.
6 reasons why eye health is important
Eye issues can have a significant effect on your day-to-day life. In a lot of cases, good eye health can be taken for granted until a decline happens. This means it is vital to take care of the health of your eyes as much you can to avoid this situation.
Below we have listed 6 of the main reasons protecting your eye health is important:
- Eyesight and health can naturally decline as we get older: With the existence of conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, the possibility for problems with your eyes increases as we age. This means it is a good idea to avoid potential risk factors when younger to keep eyes as healthy as possible.
- Eye problems can sometimes indicate other health issues: A noticeable drop in quality of vision can in some cases be due to other health conditions, that may or may not be already diagnosed. Eye tests can help pick up on these problems before they become more serious.
- Sight is one of our 5 main senses: Vision can be integral to the way we interact with our surroundings so a loss of vision, either partially or completely, can be frustrating to adapt to.
- Eye issues that are picked up early may be more treatable: As with a lot of conditions and illnesses, it is better if you are diagnosed quickly after symptoms onset. Early detection gives you a better chance of avoiding the problem worsening due to treatment now being available.
- Vision loss can be distressing and have an impact on day-to-day life: Any condition that leads to a level of vision loss can cause you to need to make changes to help with accessibility. These can be big adjustments or something like having to wear glasses or contact lenses.
- Poor eyesight can affect your mental health: Those with notable vision loss can be more at risk of feeling isolated and developing issues such as depression. Of course, this is not the case for everyone with vision loss or blindness.
With all of this in mind, it makes perfect sense to look after your eyes. This can even be down to simple lifestyle changes and ensuring you have regular eye tests. Small changes such as including more fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help with improving eye health.
Diabetes and eye health
A common condition that can affect your eyesight is diabetes. This is due to what is known as diabetic retinopathy – a complication causing retina damage due to high blood sugar levels.
Diabetic retinopathy can cause serious problems with eyesight or potentially even blindness if left undiagnosed or untreated
The NHS have screening programmes in place for diabetics. Yearly diabetic eye screenings are offered to anyone with diabetes over the age of 12. The aim of this is to try and detect any vision changes or issues as early as possible. Some common symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can be:
- Gradual decline in vision
- Sudden vision loss
- Blurred vision
- Floaters or shapes in vision
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
If you have diabetes and are concerned about vision changes, speak to your GP straight away to attempt to avoid any further damage. You can also make lifestyle changes to reduce risk of developing retinopathy by keeping blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
If you have diabetes and particularly if you have complications, you may be worried you will not be able to secure life cover because of this. We are the UK’s #1 experts for diabetes life insurance. Thsi means our team are able to offer FREE in-depth advice to help put your mind at ease.
For more information about diabetes in relation to life insurance CLICK HERE.
MS and eye problems
There are instances with multiple sclerosis (MS) where your eyesight can be impacted.
Optic neuritis can be the first noticeable symptom associated with MS in many cases. This is the medical name for inflammation of the optic nerve. It is a related condition meaning you can have optic neuritis but not have MS and vice versa. This usually affects one eye but can affect both at the same time or one and then the other.
The symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Dark spot in vision
- Pain during eye movements (in some cases)
- Flashes of light during eye movements
- Changes in the way you see colours (seeing them as darker shades than before for example)
People with MS can also experience other issues such as double vision or involuntary eye movements, even if they do not have optic neuritis.
If worried symptoms of MS may cause complications with accessing life insurance CLICK HERE for more information or speak to one of our experts.
We can assure you in most cases you should still be able to find great cover at a reasonable price.
Early stage kidney disease eyes
Kidney disease may not seem immediately linked to possible problems with eye health. You may even wonder ‘can kidney disease affect eyes?’. The answer to this is yes, vision problems may occur under certain circumstances.
For example, dry eyes and kidney disease can often go hand in hand. Although this may not be viewed by some as a serious issue, we understand this can be a frustrating and uncomfortable side effect to manage.
There are also several health conditions that affect eyes that can be directly caused by kidney disease. These are:
Retinopathy is commonly associated with diabetes, but it can affect those with kidney disease too. As poorly managed diabetes can also cause kidney issues, this link is understandable.
If you have kidney disease, you may be concerned this will leave you unable to protect yourself and your family with life insurance. Even with a pre-existing condition, life insurance can still be both accessible and extremely affordable.
For further information about how life insurance works with kidney disease, speak to one of our specialists or CLICK HERE for our dedicated kidney disease page.
Other health conditions affecting the eyes
There are several other eye diseases and conditions that can potentially impact on your eyesight and general eye health. Some of these are:
|Cataracts||Liver disease||Lyme disease||Crohn’s disease||Grave’s disease||Stroke|
|Glaucoma||Retinal detachment||Rheumatoid arthritis||Coeliac disease||Thyroid issues||Blindness|
Some of these conditions are eye specific (e.g. cataracts), whilst others can cause vision issues as additional symptoms to the condition. This means with some of these you may not experience eye problems unless suffering with complications.
If you have any concerns about your vision or general eye health, consult your optician or GP for further advice or diagnostic tests.
Eye health check
It is vital for eye health that you have regular check-ups with an optician or other medical specialist. This is especially true if you have any of the conditions spoken about in this page, that have the potential to cause problems with vision and health.
An optician or other eye specialist can use various tests to examine eyes and determine any possible issues. This relates both to general eyesight and anything that could signal other health problems. They will be able to pick up on any areas of concern.
What diseases can be detected in an eye exam?
An optician or other eye specialist will be able to detect issues during a comprehensive eye exam. This is true even if you yourself have noticed no major vision changes. Things they spot such as swelling or retina damage can be indicative of non-eye specific health conditions.
These conditions include but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Thyroid disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
An optician may suspect something they have noticed in an exam could be indicative of another health issue. If this is the case they will refer you to a GP or hospital for further testing.
Life insurance advice
We understand problems with your eyes can be frustrating and upsetting to deal with, particularly if this has an effect on your daily activities. If you are concerned these issues will also influence the ability to take out insurance – do not worry.
We are the UK’s #1 specialists for life insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. Our team have over 20 years of expertise and specialise in securing excellent policies with affordable premiums for all.
*according to VisionMatters