Eye Health UK estimates that over five million routine eye check-ups were missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opticians are still open for eye examinations and people are being urged to still attend the potentially life-saving appointments – regardless of whether they are experiencing any problems or not.
Shaan Bhachu, a final year optometry student at Cardiff University, said: “An optometrist can detect a number of problems.
“They can detect sight-related problems such as glaucoma but also other problems such as diabetes and even high blood pressure.”
A routine eye check-up takes less than an hour out of your day and the impact it has could be massive.
Miss Bhachu went on to say, “Optometrists have the ability and the potential to save your sight and your life – it’s incredible.
“They can notice problems that don’t have symptoms. For example, they can detect glaucoma and the early detection of this could slow down the sight loss experienced because of it.”
Whilst optometrists examine the eye and our quality of eyesight, their ability to identify and even solve problems that appear unrelated to our vision at first has been a lifeline for some.
Jarod Michie, a creative writer from Leicester, suffered from chronic migraines during his teenage years. Jarod’s migraines caused unbearable pain and left him unable to do anything other than sit in a dark room with the hopes it would soon subside.
It was only when he went for an eye test that he was told his vision was contributing to the migraines he was experiencing.
“I was told that my prescription needed changing as my current one was outdated.
“I was sceptical about the impact changing my prescription would have on my migraines, but it has helped unbelievable amounts – to the point where I’m no longer impacted by them.”
The coronavirus pandemic has seen an estimated five million routine eye tests missed – a figure that is concerning when given the volume of problems that could be discovered during a check-up.
Whilst worry around attending these appointments is understandable, optometrists and student optometrists, like Shaan, are stressing the importance of turning up:
“With the vaccine programme in the UK a lot of optometrists and even student optometrists are getting vaccinated.
“Everyone is in full PPE so the risk of transmission in an opticians is quite low.”
If you’re due an eye examination, or have concerns regarding your sight, you can make an appointment at your local Specsavers branch here.