South West community urged to look after their eye health

New research suggests that as many as 10,000 residents in Bunbury over the age of 40 are currently experiencing a problem with their eyes but failing to get their eyes checked by an optometrist.

This eye health month also known as JulEye, Specsavers Bunbury Optometrist, Linda Harris is urging residents to stop putting their sight at risk and book in for an eye test.

Ms Harris said if Bunbury locals didn’t take their eye health seriously, and started taking preventative measures to look after their eyesight, the number of people over the age of 40 with vision related problems and vision loss would continue to rise.

“I am really concerned by the number of locals that aren’t getting their eyes tested regularly, especially given that 52 per cent of the people in Bunbury are at that age where their eyes are starting to deteriorate,” she said.

“In fact, 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.

“In this day and age we shouldn’t be seeing people unnecessarily losing their vision but we are, this is because eye health is just not a priority in the same way other health conditions like heart disease and cancer are.”

Currently more than 420,000 Australians over the age of 40 are experiencing vision loss as a result of uncorrected vision problems.

Another 300,000 Australians experience vision loss as a result of eye diseases including macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease.

Numbers are expected to rise by as much as nine per cent by 2020 if people continue to ignore their eye health.

Ms Harris said having your eyes tested once every two years was the best way to protect your sight. 

“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 to correct a vision problem and as many as 1 in 4 of us will live with an eye disease,” she said. 

“Vision problems and eye diseases can affect anyone so just because you might have had good vision when you were younger doesn’t mean you are not at risk.

“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.

“As a Bunbury 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 preventative measures to look after their eye health because there is not the same level of awareness as other health conditions.”

For more information visit visioninitiative.org.au.