Sunday, March 3, 2024

Had a Close Call on the Roads Lately? This Could Be Why…

Um guys, there’s some bloody terrifying new research out and it’s NOT good if you’re a road user. It turns out that a huge majority of us are missing vital road signs and even zebra crossings when we’re driving along, and it’s all because we’re just not looking after our eyes.

The research, done by rugby referees’ favourite jersey sponsor Specsavers, 71% of respondents (licensed drivers) reported having problems with their eyesight and had issues seeing road signs while driving. Twenty per cent admitted to not seeing traffic lights, and 16% copped to not seeing zebra crossings.

This research, conducted in March/Apitl this year, comes on the back of earlier surveys that show women in particular are dismissing minor problems with their eyes before they develop to major issues, with a huge 89% of Kiwi women admitting to having experienced an issue with their eye, but nearly quarter of those (23%) said they didn’t see an optometrist or a healthcare professional for their last eye issue and just waited for it to go away on its own.

So if you’re reading this, it’s probably time to have an eye test – for EVERYONE’S sake. To know if you might need to pop into an optometrist to have the peppers looked at, we asked Specsavers Optometrist Michael Angerame for their advice when it comes to looking after your eyes:

The statistic that 71% of Kiwis have missed a road sign while driving is terrifying! Does this surprise you?

This is a surprisingly high number and does cause concern. It seems Kiwis are ignoring tell-tale signs that they may be having problems with their eyesight, like dry eyes, blurred vision, and tired eyes. The research also shows that 50% of people between 35-64 haven’t even had an eye test in the past five years, which could be contributing to these startling statistics.

The eye checks done when a license is issued is a basic screening test for visual awareness and visual fields, so it’s important to see a trained optometrist for a full, comprehensive eye test.

What’s the most common complaint people have when they come to you for the first time?

Most commonly, people complain about tired eyes and blurred vision, which can ultimately link to chronic headaches.

For a lot of people, losing eyesight is a gradual thing. How can you tell if it’s happening to you?

Losing eyesight is often something that happens gradually. Overtime you may start to notice you are unable to see small or fine details, or that objects far away or close-up start to look slightly blurred.

Some other symptoms to watch out for that may indicate gradual changes to your eyesight are sensitivity to light, dry or itchy eyes, discharge from your eye, increased tear production, and changes to your peripheral, central, or night vision.

However, symptoms may not always be obvious, which is why we encourage everyone to get an eye test every two years, or sooner.

Younger people, on the whole, will feel like they don’t need eye tests if they don’t think there’s a problem – why do we need them every two years?

Getting your eyes tested regularly is critical because many eye conditions, like glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, are characterised by a lack of symptoms, and if left untreated, can lead to severe complications, even loss of vision. 

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