I’ve always prided myself on having excellent vision. As a kid I would strain to read street signs when we were still approximately a kilometre away, I;d read the blackboard from the back of the classroom and I could read teeny tiny writing on packets, bottles, books – you name it. No worries.
And then I became almost 40. I mean I’d heard that your eyes begin failing noticeably around forty (if they haven’t already) and as I get closer, I can feel it, literally, happening to me (I was going to say “before my very eyes” but that would be cheesy!). It could be because I am spending a lot more time writing at my computer, using my phone to engage in social media as per the norm of 2016 or it could be that my eyes are just getting old and tired and lazy.
I now feel like my Mama everytime I pick up something to read. Without even realising, my arm is stretched out and I really strain to get my eyes to find the teeny tiny directions or instructions or whatever it is that I’m looking for.
When SpecSavers asked me if I’d like to help promote Glaucoma Awareness Month and have my eyes tested I said a big fat “Yes please!”. Although I had zero idea what Glaucoma was, I figured I could learn something new, get my eyes tested and help pass on valuable information to you as well!
I learned more during that one hour testing session than I have in a while. And it’s all good, important, necessary to know stuff. Let me tell you more please.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that affect the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. It often affects both eyes, usually to varying degrees and one eye may develop glaucoma quicker than the other. It is caused by a build-up of pressure within the eye or by the eye being more prone to damage from pressure. There are several variations of Glaucoma but each of them are detrimental to vision and detecting them early can help to reduce the amount of damage this disease can cause.
Wanna know what’s scary?
- About 91,000 New Zealanders (2% of the population’) over the age of 40 have glaucoma and more than half don’t know they have it. That means there is a very real possibility they will go completely blind.
- Worldwide 4.5% of the population over 40 years old has glaucoma ‒ 64 million people ‒ and that’s expected to grow to 111.8 million worldwide by 2040.
There are risk factors for glaucoma which include family history, higher levels of short sightedness and raised pressure in the eye – OHT or ocular hypertension. Glaucoma can be treated, but early detection is really important which is why I’m working with Specsavers this month to help create awareness of the importance of having your eyes regularly tested!
Last week I visited my local Specsavers store in St Lukes and had an eye test. It’s a pain free procedure and involves a series of questions, followed by a series of eye tests ranging from bright lights to a pressure test – air being puffed into your eyes (super weird but not painful) and more testing with old fashioned eye charts and magnifying glasses.
My hour of testing involved the following tests – all carried out by a Specsavers optometrist in addition to the usual examinations carried out during an eye test. They are painless and quite quick. They include:
Eye pressure test (tonometry)
An instrument called a tonometer is used to measure the pressure inside your eye – intraocular pressure. Tonometry can be useful to identify ocular hypertension (OHT – raised pressure in the eye), which is a risk factor for chronic open-angle glaucoma.
Visual field test
You will be shown a sequence of light spots and asked which ones you can see. Some dots will appear in your peripheral vision, which is where glaucoma begins. If you can’t see the spots in your peripheral vision, it may indicate that glaucoma has damaged your vision.
Optic nerve assessment
Your optic nerve connects your eye to your brain. This can be assessed in a variety of ways during your examination and it is also photographed using a retinal camera. Digital retinal photography (DRP) captures an image of your optic nerves which can be used as reference for future visits and to track any changes that may occur over time.
I am happy to report that although my eye muscles are definitely weakening with age, I have no signs of glaucoma. I do have a stigmatism though, which means my eye is shaped funny! But because my vision is a little compromised for near work – i.e. blog writing, blog reading, phone using and traditional old book reading (something I also love to do), Shirley my optometrist recommended I get some low level prescription glasses.
Choosing the frames was a mammoth task and I had to enlist the help of one of the staff members as I found the whole process of choosing quite overwhelming – there are a lot of great options to choose from. After narrowing it down from 15 pair to 8 to 4 to 2, I decided on these Karl Lagerfeld frames. I thought I’d go for a black frame initially, but I liked the more subtle look of this softer brown for my new venture of wearing glasses.
And then I was able to choose some sunglasses so I decided on this pair of Alex Perry Aviators. I don’t have any of this style and I’m excited to wear them in Hawai’i next month!
Did you know that you should have an eye test at least every two years (or more frequently if advised by your Specsavers optometrist). If there is family history of glaucoma or a close relative has it, they might suggest you have more regular testing.
Because this is such an important issue for us all to be aware of, Specsavers have given me a wonderful prize for one lucky reader!
In the comments below, tell me when was the last time you had your eyes tested and you’ll go in the draw to win a free eye exam PLUS a voucher for two pairs of designer frames from Specsavers!
I will draw a winner on July 23 and announce via email. Good luck!
* Thank you to Specsavers for making this post possible!