rong>The eyes have it
Losing sight of eye health
It’s easy to take your eyesight for granted, but imagine what life would be like without it! Blindness is a big problem in our communities, with rates of blindness about 10 times that of mainstream Australian communities. However, up to 80 per cent of blindness or vision impairment is caused by conditions that are either preventable or treatable.
This is usually something that happens to older people and is caused by the lens in the eye becoming cloudy. The word “cataract” is from a Greek word meaning “waterfall” – if you have one, it’s like trying to see through a waterfall.
Cataracts can be removed surgically; the doctor then inserts a new lens into your eye. Generally, the operation lasts about 30 minutes for each eye. Providing there are no other problems, vision becomes significantly clearer afterwards.
Diabetic eye disease
Diabetes can cause bleeding in the back of the eye. If this is not treated, it can cause serious damage. If it’s picked up early enough, it can be treated and its damage reduced or stopped. If you have diabetes, regular eye tests are a must.
Short- or long-sightedness
There’s no need to struggle to read road signs, to see the board at school or hold a newspaper at arm’s length to read it. The symptoms of short- and long-sightedness can be alleviated by wearing prescription lens glasses or contact lenses suitable for your eyes. An optometrist (eye doctor) can help you with this.
How do I find out more?
Ask your health worker, doctor or optometrist about having an eye test. If you have diabetes and notice a change in your vision or have a family history of eye disease, you should have an eye test as soon as possible.
Here are some amazing things you might not have known about your eyes:
- Eyes are the most complex organs you possess, apart from your brain, and can process 36,000 bits of information every hour.
- Eyes contribute towards 85 per cent of your total knowledge
- Eyes are composed of more than two million working parts.
- In a normal life-span, your eyes will bring you almost 24 million images of the world around you.
- The average person blinks about 12 times a minute. That’s about 10,080 blinks in an average day of 14 waking hours.
World Sight Day will be celebrated across the planet on October 14. It’s chance to take a good look at your family’s eye health. For more info about World Sight Day, call (03) 9656 2020 or check out www.vision2020australia.org.au.