Why National Eye Health Week is so important to me
21st -27th September 2020 is National Eye Health Week.
Despite being fit and healthy, after two major eye health scares in the past five years I thank my lucky stars that I still have my eyesight.
2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss, that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives.
Yet half of this sight loss is considered to be avoidable. National Eye Health Week aims to increase people’s awareness.
http://www.visionmatters.org.uk/ is a really useful website for further information.
Research has shown that sight is the sense people fear losing the most. Yet most people don’t stop to think about the importance of caring for your eyes and the influence of diet and lifestyle factors.
If you do not have a sight issue- do you have your eyes tested? You should visit at least every two years as it helps to detect underlying eye health conditions that you could be completely unaware of.
Fit at 50?
Within weeks of celebrating my fiftieth birthday, I was attending a regular gym class when I suddenly noticed the appearance of many floaters — lots of squiggly lines — that rushed across my right eye blocking my field of vision.
It disappeared as quickly as it came but my gym buddy, a nurse, insisted I go straight to A&E. She rightly suspected a detached retina.
Unfortunately, the hospital sent me on my way but my friend insisted I get a second opinion.
Six weeks later (yes I continued my busy, active life in that time!) I saw a private consultant who confirmed I had a small retinal detachment (a small tear) and performed laser surgery straight away.
I had to have a second more invasive laser surgery (usually performed under general anaesthetic) five days before flying to Cambodia, otherwise, I could not have gone.
A detached retina is a serious problem that can cause blindness unless it is treated.
Retinal detachment can be a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a detached retina, it’s important to go to your eye doctor or the emergency room right away.
Could I suffer any more?
I am extremely short-sighted so I visit my optician annually. He noticed raised eye pressure and recommended I have my eyes properly investigated for glaucoma.
My mother was diagnosed with glaucoma at 79, at 53 surely this would not affect me? Unfortunately, yes.
According to the NHS, glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It’s usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye and damaging the nerve.
Glaucoma can lead to loss of vision if it’s not diagnosed and treated early however as it develops slowly most people- like me — are unaware there is a problem.
As a Naturopath I am extremely reluctant to take medications as I wish to try natural approaches first.
But I fully understood the seriousness of this condition so when I was told that beta-blockers were my only option I reluctantly commenced taking them.
The consultant confirmed that yes I may experience side effects like light headedness and fatigue but I had no choice and I would be taking them for life! I was really upset.
Novel Laser Surgery?
Three month’s later I searched for published research articles about glaucoma treatment and found a new study showing the benefits of a special laser surgery on glaucoma outcomes in newly diagnosed patients. It opens up the blocked drainage ducts so that fluid can flow freely and reduce the pressure.
Within another three months I had the surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital with extremely positive results. And I was taken off the medications. Result!
I’ve asked myself that question a LOT.
I am fit and healthy. I am an experienced nutritional therapist and naturopath.
I publish many articles and write for newspapers and magazines about how to lead a natural healthy life. https://www.peytonprinciples.com/blogs-and-media/
I may not be getting any younger but it seems my extreme short-sightedness (myopia) is a factor to both conditions. And with glaucoma, there is a family history genetic link too.
For everyone, as with most health conditions take care to follow a healthy lifestyle.
It is important to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, monitor stress levels and aim for 8 hours quality sleep.
Regarding diet: choose natural wholefoods, eat essential fats and plenty of vegetables but avoid processed foods is the starting point for any health regime.
For specific health conditions, consult a qualified health professional who can guide you professionally.
Thank you for reading, keep an eye out for more articles in the press and you can always catch up with the latest here on my blog.
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Thanks for reading. Keep your eye out for more articles and Peyton Principles in the media.
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Providing expert, personalised, health advice utilising 10 years of nutritional therapy and naturopathy experience with a strong emphasis on digestion and gut health. Zoom or face to face Consultations.
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