Comment: Regular sight tests could prevent future health scares
National Eye Health Week took place last week and highlighted the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests.
A study showed that one of the main fears people have is to lose their sight, despite many of us not knowing how to look after our eyes.
There are approximately two million people in the UK living with sight loss impacting on their daily lives.
Half of this sight loss is preventable if they attended regular eye tests.
Priscilla Marfoa, a litigation executive at Fletchers Solicitors, said:
A test can detect the early signs of conditions such as glaucoma. Glaucoma can be treated if found at an earlier stage as the window of opportunity is quite slim.
It is so important to go for regular sight tests. Other health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure may be detected. These conditions can be life threatening if the appropriate treatment is not provided.
For healthy eyes, studies have shown that the following makes a difference:
- Diet: it is imperative to eat foods which are recommended for good eye health. Antioxidants help prevent retinal damage, whereas food such as kale, spinach and coloured fruit all promote healthy eyes.
- Exercise: a lack of exercise will affect your eyes especially if you are over 60. Experts say exercise can reduce the risk of sight loss.
- Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can result to serious health conditions which can be harmful to your eye health.
- Smoking: studies have shown that smoking is one of the biggest factor for developing macular degeneration which affects more than 600,000 people in the UK. Smoking also increases your risk of developing cataracts. For more information on cataracts and the causes and symptoms please visit
- The sun: it is imperative to protect your eyes from the sun as it can cause severe damage. Avoid looking directly at the sun.
If it is sunny you should wear sunglasses which have CE mark as it ensures the right level of ultraviolet protection.
After seeing black spots in his eye sight, Andrew Baker, 74 from Pembrokeshire went to Glangwili General Hospital where he was seen by a doctor. However, due to the fact it was New Years Day, the Ophthalmologist failed to attend and examine his sight. As a result, Mr Baker not only lost his sight in one eye, he had a stroke and a double heart bypass.
Mr Baker commented:
I am bitterly upset at my loss of vision; particularly because I have been told that if I had been treated in time, it could have been saved.
I just wanted an apology and someone to say that they were sorry for letting this happen to me. I’ve known people who have lost their vision, but I didn’t appreciate the impact it has on your life – it’s completely ruined my life. I can’t drive or read anymore; there is so much that I am no longer able to do.”
I was a fit 72-year-old and now I’m like an old man. I used to walk about eight miles a day but now I’m lucky if I can manage 600 yards. Some days I don’t even want to get up in the morning because I know I’m not going to be able to do the things that I want to do. I had such a good life and I’ve lost so much.
Fletchers successfully pursued the claim and Mr Baker was awarded £65,000 from the hospital for the delay in diagnosis.
Andrew Tindall, litigation executive in the medical negligence team at Fletchers Solicitors, said:
The facts of this case go to show just how important physical examinations of patients are, and that in some instances a diagnosis over the telephone can have devastating consequences.
If the on-call ophthalmologist had attended to Mr Baker as he/she should have done, he would still have some sight in his right eye and would not require the removal of his eye in the future. No amount of money will bring the sight back in Mr Baker’s eye, but I do hope the compensation awarded can go some way to helping Mr Baker with his future needs.”
For more information on glaucoma and the causes and symptoms please visit.
For more information on National Health Eye Week visit.