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Vision 2016

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INDEPENDENT PUBLICATION BY 18 / 09 / 2016 #0404 raconteur.net VISION.TAKEN SERIOUSLY. NATIONAL EYE OFFICIAL PARTNER HEALTH WEEK MONDAY 19 – SUNDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2016 Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and spon- sored features are clearly labelled. For an upcoming schedule, partnership inquiries or feedback, please call +44 (0)20 8616 7400 or e-mail info@raconteur.net Raconteur is a leading publisher of special-interest content and research. Its publications and articles cover a wide range of topics, including business, finance, sustainability, healthcare, lifestyle and technology. Raconteur special reports are published exclusively in The Times and The Sunday Times as well as online at raconteur.net The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the Proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be repro- duced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media DANNY BUCKLAND Award-winning health journalist, he writes for national newspapers and magazines, and blogs on health innovation and technology. NICKY COLLINSON Freelance writer and editor specialising in the optical sector, she was communications consultant for the British Contact Lens Association. ROWENNA DAVIS Contributor to The Guardian and New Statesman, she specialises in social and political affairs, and is a regular BBC and Sky News commentator. VICTORIA FLETCHER Freelance health writer and former health editor at the Daily Express, she contributes to the Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Telegraph. DISTRIBUTED IN BUSINESS CULTURE FINANCE HEALTHCARE LIFEST YLE SUSTAINABILIT Y TECHNOLOGY INFOGRAPHICS raconteur.net/vision-2016 RACONTEUR PUBLISHING MANAGER Conie Rose Wechsler DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER Lorna North HEAD OF PRODUCTION Natalia Rosek DESIGN Samuele Motta Grant Chapman Kellie Jerrard PRODUCTION EDITOR Benjamin Chiou MANAGING EDITOR Peter Archer CONTRIBUTORS GLOBAL CAUSES OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT Source: Visiongain 2014 Technological innovations are revolutionising eyecare Glasses have transformed into a must-have fashion accessory NATIONAL EYE HEALTH WEEK: SEPTEMBER 19-25 BIONIC VISION IS IN SIGHT THE LOOK OF CHANGING TIMES Raising public awareness of the need to make eye tests a part of routine healthcare 02 03 06 VISION World's biggest eye survey will test UK's sight Experts predict a big jump in the number of people suffering sight loss as the UK's population gets older – and need to know the true scale of the problem OVERVIEW NIGEL HAWKES L oss of sight is a big problem, but just how big? Nobody is entirely sure. Sight loss charities say there are almost two million people in the UK with some degree of sight loss, includ - ing 360,000 who are registered as blind or partially sighted. But, says Mercy Jeyasin- gham, chief executive of the umbrella body Vision 2020, no com- prehensive survey of eye health in the UK has been carried out since the 1960s. Next year Vision 2020 plans to launch the UK Eye Sur vey, aiming to examine the sight of 250,000 people across the country, a sample large enough to show the incidence of different eye conditions and how age, ethnicity, gender, where you live and how well-off you are affect the chances of getting them. It will also assess the health needs of children born with sight loss, and how those who live in care homes, prisons and special schools are affected by it. "It's a very ambitious project," says Ms Jeyas- ingham. "It will be the biggest eye survey in the world and we will need a huge amount of money, around £20 million." The board planning it includes all the main interest groups – Royal College of Oph - thalmologists, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Col- lege of Optometrists, Guide Dogs and Fight for Sight – and the survey has been designed by a group headed by Rupert Bourne, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospi - tal in London. Why is it so important? "We're predicting a doubling of the number of people with sight loss in the next 20 years, so it's important to know where we're starting from," says Ms Jeyasingham. "Unless we know what the current situation is, we can't plan services for the future." The ageing population is the princi - pa l reason for this a larming projection. Sight loss is linked to age, so the longer you live the more likely you are to suffer it. One in f ive people over 75 have some degree of sight loss and three quar ters of those registered as blind or par tia l - ly sighted are over 65. There is a strong link between sight loss and wellbeing; a third of older people with sight loss a lso suffer depression. Awareness of the conditions that can cause sight loss varies considerably, with age-related macular degeneration con - tinuing to be the least widely recog- nised even though it is the leading cause of vision loss for the over-50s. Cataract and glaucoma are better recognised, but people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds have a lower awareness of all eye conditions, even though their genetic make-up gives them a greater risk of glau - coma and diabetic retinopathy. One trend that still has the exper ts g uessing is the doubling in shor t-sight among children since the 1960s. A study backed by the Col - lege of Optometrists and U lster University published earlier this year found that 16.4 per cent of children are now shor t-sight - ed, compared with 7.2 per cent in the 1960s. There is a strong family link as children with one myopic parent are three times more likely to be shor t-sighted by the age of 13 and those with two myopic parents seven times more likely. Mike Bowen, director of research for the college, says: "Research suggests that early intervention can help slow down further in - creases in myopia, so sight tests in children at risk are very important." What drives this change is not known, though research has suggested that spend - We're predicting a doubling of the number of people with sight loss in the next 20 years 01 Eyes don't usually hurt when they go wrong. So regular eye tests that pick up problems early are important even if you have no symptoms. Go regularly, every two years at least. 02 Children don't know what normal vision is, so a common problem such as short- sight can go undetected, and may cause difficulties at school and delays in learning. Warning signs are sitting too close to the TV, frequent eye-rubbing and holding objects very close to their face. Don't wait until they can read the eye chart, as tests are available that don't need reading ability. 03 Good vision means a good quality of life. Most common eye problems can be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, cataract operations or other treatments. Apart from the obvious consequence of not seeing well, poor vision multiplies the impairments caused by other conditions such as depression and obesity. 04 Tests detect diseases of the eye early enough to do something about them. About half the cases of serious sight loss or blindness can be prevented by early detection and treatment. These include glaucoma, if it is detected before irreversible damage occurs, and diabetic retinopathy where prevention forms part of a package of care to control diabetes. Tests are even more important for those with a family history of eye disease. 05 The eye provides a window on the blood vessels, so eye tests can often pick up health conditions sooner than a GP or other health specialist would. High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol all leave signatures in the eye which an experienced specialist can spot. Treatment can not only prevent damage to the eyes, but to the whole body. FIVE REASONS TO HAVE YOUR EYES TESTED ing more time outdoors in bright light can be protective. "It's important that children spend two hours outside in the sunlight every day," says Ms Jeyasingham. Hospital eyecare services are under in - creasing pressure, with demand rising by 30 per cent in the past five years, a situation ophthalmologist Andrew Cassels-Brown, of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, calls "quite scary". One reason, says Ms Jeyasin - gham, is there are treatments available now that weren't ten years ago, which is good news. In Leeds, services were reorganised, changing where care is delivered and re - ducing referrals to hospital. Ms Jeyasingham arg ues this is the way for ward, creating a better use of availa- ble skills to ta ke some of the pressure off hospita l eye ser vices. "For example, a lot of time in hospita l is ta ken up with treating minor eye conditions, which are painful, but can be treated in the com - munity," she says. "A lot of people don't know that." Share this article online via raconteur.net A lot of time in hospital is taken up with treating minor eye conditions, which are painful, but can be treated in the community Uncorrected refractive errors 43% Cataracts 33% Undetermined causes 18% 2% Glaucoma 1% Diabetic retinopathy Corneal opacities 1% Trachoma 1% Age-related macular degeneration 1% NIGEL HAWKES Science and health journalist, formerly with The Observer and The Times, he is a regular contributor to the British Medical Journal. JOHN ILLMAN Award-winning author, he is a former national newspaper health editor and medical correspondent. JOSH SIMS Freelance writer, he contributes to the Financial Times, Wallpaper* and Esquire, and is editor of Viewpoint.

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