Reducing blindness improving vision
Welcome to Save Our Sight, the public awareness campaign for eye health.
In each year since 2002, the New Zealand Association of Optometrists has headed a month-long eye health promotion campaign called Save Our Sight.
Aims of Save our Sight
- To improve the eye health of New Zealanders by letting people know a regular eye examination by an optometrist can save their sight.
- To improve understanding among New Zealanders that eye health is an essential part of maintaining personal health and wellbeing and they can take action by scheduling an eye examination every 2 years
- To educate people about the realities of living with impaired vision and the importance of vision for performance at school, at work, and at play.
To improve the eye health of New Zealanders by raising awareness of eye health and reducing the number of people who go blind from preventable causes.
Did you know?
75% of the world’s blindness is preventable, according to the World Health Organisation
Most serious eye diseases like glaucoma or macular degeneration can occur at any age
Absolutely everyone is at risk from sunlight related eye damage especially cataracts and AMD
What you should do:
Protect your eyes from UV outdoors by using eyewear that blocks 100% of the harmful rays
Schedule a complete eye exam every two years. Quick tests only check for prescription changes and will not detect major eye diseases.
You only get one pair of eyes – look after them!
The tests included in a complete eye exam are:
 medical history questions
 assessment of internal eye health, including retina, optic disc, and blood vessels
 a Slit-lamp assessment of the external eye including lids and lashes
 assessment of colour perception (some general diseases affect colour vision)
 glaucoma assessment including eye pressure test
 assessment of visual functions
 testing of eye muscles to check they act and coordinate properly
 visual fields test to check for blind spots caused by eye disease or brain damage (e.g. glaucoma or stroke)
 assessment of pupil function and response
This will take time so don’t expect a short appointment.
If your eye exam does not tick all the right boxes then you need to think about the care you are receiving and the risk that you may have undetected eye disease.
Complete eye exams can detect more than just eye diseases
A complete examination of your eyes can provide information to the optometrist about risk and presence of a range of general diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
Losing vision is devastating and generally irreversible
The first symptom of most diseases that rob people of their sight is when they notice they can’t see well. By that time it is too late to reverse the loss and treatment will be aimed at protecting the vision that remains.
People with poor vision have higher rates of depression, more falls and fractures, increased need for community and/or family support, and earlier need for institutionalized care than people who can see well.
People who do not see well rate their quality of life lower than people who do see well.
Watch out for:
- This is a major cause of blindness in New Zealand.
- UV damage is one of the leading contributors to macular degeneration along with smoking and hereditary disposition.
- Are you at risk? The answer is yes. It is important for everyone, regardless of age, to wear UV protective eyewear while outdoors.
- Symptoms: The gradual loss of ability to see clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of colour vision and a dark or empty area appearing in the centre of vision.
- Treatment: There are now treatments for some forms of wet AMD and new research is developing towards more treatments for both wet and dry forms as time goes on.
- Glaucoma is an eye condition that often involves pressure in the eye and damage to the optic nerve. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause loss of sight in just a few years.
- People at risk are:
- people with a parent, brother or sister with glaucoma
- people who are over 60 years old
- people with certain medical conditions: high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or a history of migraine.
- people who take steroids over a prolonged period
- people with a history of eye injury
- people who have injuries involving sudden blood loss
- people who are myopic (short sighted) in primary open angle glaucoma;
- people who are hyperopic (long sighted) in angle closure glaucoma.
- Symptoms: usually none except vision loss, in advanced cases.
- Treatment: If detected early, glaucoma can be managed and further loss of vision prevented by drops or, in some cases, surgery
- In a few cases, glaucoma will develop rapidly with blurred vision, loss of side vision, seeing coloured halos around lights, redness of the eye, nausea or vomiting and pain in the eye. This is serious and should be treated as a medical emergency.