Seniors urged to act on eye disease

Now for some bad news and some good news. First, the good news – 90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable with early detection. The bad news? Well, by 2020, more than 800,000 Australians are expected to experience vision loss or blindness.

News like this – and findings released by the Medical Journal of Australia this week that specified people aged 50 years and up should have their vision tested for glaucoma every 1- 2 years - has prompted optometrists to urge us to have our eyes checked before it’s too late.

They’ve launched a new national early intervention campaign that aims to reach five million Australians every month. is a dedicated online education and booking platform where users can find and book local and trusted eye health specialists from any internet-connected device.

Melbourne-based optometrist Jeremey Richards said: “The scary truth is that by the time eye disease symptoms start to appear, it may be too late to prevent permanent damage to your vision.

“Australians aged 40 and above may not realise that they are at higher risk of developing an eye disease. A simple eye health check every two years should be a regular and essential part of every person’s healthcare routine, just like regular check-ups with a GP and dentist.”

Here’s 10 tips from Jeremey to help keep your eyes healthy:

  1. It is normal for our eyes to age as we do. Be prepared for more regular check-ups, even if you don’t notice anything wrong.
  2. See the same optometrist each time you need a check-up. That way, they’ll get to know you and what’s normal for your eyes.
  3. Maintain a healthy, varied diet. It really does make a difference for your eye health.
  4. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses when outside. UV damage is cumulative - extra exposure equals extra damage!
  5. If your eyes are tiring when using a digital device, take a break, even if only for five minutes!
  6. Get a good night’s sleep. Rested eyes work better, no matter what the task.
  7. Tell your optometrist about any changes to your general health, as there could be important consequences for your vision and eye health.
  8. Also tell your optometrist if members of your family have health conditions such as diabetes, glaucoma or macular degeneration.
  9. Everyone’s eyes are different. Ask questions while you’re with your optometrist, and they will let you know what’s normal and what’s not.
  10. If you don’t have a great, trusted relationship with your optometrist, find another one. Ask friends or family for personal recommendations, or visit find the nearest optometrist in your community.

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