About a year ago my hubby had his eyesight tested because he wanted to take up driving lessons. It turned out that he indeed needed glasses to improve his eyesight, but we were also told he has rather high eye pressure which could lead to gradual loss of eyesight. High eye pressure could even lead to a sudden rupture of the blood vessels around the eye causing blindness, possibly permanent! Luckily you can take measurements against this such as eye drops or laser surgery, but it’s still scary news to be told after just a simple eye test! I never realised you could learn so much about your health from such a test. I even read an article about a girl who discovered she had a tumour behind her eye during a routine eye test. I had my last eye test when I was still in primary school and after hubby’s discovery I decided to book an appointment at a local opticians.
I was more curious to learn about possible underlying health risks, rather than having my eyesight tested as I knew I could see just perfectly fine. I can read signs from quite a distance and look at texts on the computer screen intensely all day to do my work as a book editor. I was sure I would have noticed any possible problems a long time before. Yes, I do get the occasional headache and have blurry vision at the end of the day when I get tired, but that’s just perfectly normal, isn’t it?
Eye test: how it works
I was first led into a sterile white room (very futuristic) where three machines were set up. I put my head into the first machine and had to press a button whenever I saw a white light flashing on the screen. This was the visual field test which can signal the first signs of glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease which affects your peripheral sight. You might be suffering from this without realising as it often develops very gradually. When it’s left untreated, it will affect your central sight and lead to blindness. Yikes! Luckily I scored well on this part, phew!
The two following machines were less interactive. One made a digital retinal photograph, basically a detailed photo of your eye, which is kept as a reference for future tests. Finally, I had an eye pressure check. During this the optician blows a puff of air into your eye while you try to keep your eyes open, not an easy thing to do!
After these simple checks I saw yet another optician who carried out the traditional eyesight test: reading out letters from a board. To my horror I realised my vision was rather blurry with my right eye! I was asked to put on a primitive plastic frame and the optician tested out different lenses to see if that improved my eyesight. So, in the end I left the opticians with the totally unexpected news that although my eye health was perfect, I needed reading glasses… Thankfully glasses are rather funky nowadays and don’t look as horrendous as in the past anymore.
So here I am with my new glasses! Not too bad, eh? If I pull my hair back, you can see how they accentuate the dozens of grey hairs by my ears. So what’s the next step? I started using anti-aging moisturiser recently and my opticians gave me a voucher for a free hearing test, so who knows what comes out of that, ha! Although I still feel like a kid at times, I’m slowly coming to terms that I’m approaching the big 4-0. Till a few months ago the cashiers would always ask for ID when I bought alcohol, which I found rather amusing. It was a real boost when the teenagers on my east London walking tour the other day thought I was only 23 years old!
I had a pretty sweet 2 for 1 deal on my glasses, so also got myself some prescription sunglasses so I’m all prepared for reading outdoors on sunny summer days. (Hopefully soon after this second winter period!) As you can see in the pic below, my normal glasses are pretty cool as they have studs on the arms, a nice personal touch as I am quite a metalhead 😉
If you care about your health and want to know more about eye health, then just find yourself a local opticians and book an appointment. Depending on the opticians, it should cost you around £20-£40 (I paid £25). Check here if you could be eligible for a free NHS eye test. The test is entirely painless and takes only half an hour. You might be surprised about the outcome.
As for my hubby? He’s having a laser surgery in a few weeks time!