The 20th and 21st centuries have seen some truly amazing changes in the way humans live their lives. Astonishing technological advancements in relatively short spaces of time have progressed humanity forward in our ability to expect longer life expectancies, our instant interactivity with the world over and modes of transport thought as mere fantasy just over a century ago. Certain aspects however, have also evolved but not necessarily in a positive way. The modern lifestyle of high stress, fast food and instant entertainment are being tagged as primary reasons why many optometrists are seeing larger than expected jumps in the number of people suffering from eye conditions including blepharitis and dry eye.
Spectrum Thea, the company made up of Spectrum and Laboratoires Thea, which offers quality ophthalmic pharmaceutical products in the UK, recently conducted a survey to assess eye conditions and future concerns amongst optometrists. The results showed some alarming statistics:
- 90% of optometrists did not believe that the average person took their eye health seriously
- Only 20% of those with an eye condition or concern would visit an optician as their primary specialist
- Around 50% of specialists considered eye conditions such as AMD and cataracts to become more prevalent amongst younger people than they currently are
- 45% did not see an inability to read road signs properly as an important marker for eye health
- 10% of people will not visit an optician regularly to avoid conditions in an early stage advancing, and will only do so should they experience an issue with their eyes
Whilst the majority of us can expect to live fuller, longer lives, it appears we don't take into account the effect our modern lifestyles can have on our health, and significantly our vision. One of the main reasons suggested (by those taking part in the study) for the change in our eye health, is the constant use of screens in our lives. Whilst televisions and monitors have been around for many years, the amount of time we spend using them has vastly increased in the recent decade with the advent of smartphones, tablets and a seemingly endless supply of on demand, on screen entertainment via our TV's. Ready meals and fast food are also areas that can have a dramatic impact, as our busy days can often lead to quick easy fixes for nutrition, that might not be in our best interests health wise. One of the most common conditions, dry eye, can manifest itself as a simple irritation from time to time, but if undiagnosed can lead to increased frequency as well as cysts and infections. Simple remedies such as lubricants can help in this matter, but it seems many of us either ignore the symptoms or fail to recognise the complications that can occur further down the line.