Four years ago, Esther Wolswinkel noticed that her vision had deteriorated. “My husband joked: are you a little drunk?” The doctor brushed off her concerns by advising her to rest. “In the end I went to an optician and then it turned out that I could no longer see anything with one eye,” she tells EditieNL.
Two months later, Esther was able to see an ophthalmologist. “Then my retina was shattered.” She was operated on several times for this. “Once on the operating table, I was informed that much had already been damaged and that I was visually impaired.” Completely regaining her sight was no longer possible.
Esther suffers from retinal detachment. As a result, she no longer sees depth. “What enters through the bad eye also enters distorted. Looking costs me a lot of energy. And unfortunately it can still not be solved.”
Because of her age, Esther hadn’t expected this to happen to her. “I was 37, I thought, how can this be? I thought it could only happen to the elderly.” Ophthalmologists told her that she had been living with her complaints for too long. “You’re too late, they said. I’ve always had a good and a bad eye, so you run a greater risk. I didn’t know this then.”
listen to your eyes
To prevent these kinds of situations, the Eye Fund calls for an annual eye check by an optician or optometrist. “There is an increase in the number of people who arrive late for eye checks,” Monique van Bijsterveld, director of the Eye Fund, tells EditieNL.
During an eye check, the eyes are examined and problems may arise. Treating these problems in time can prevent the damage from becoming irreversible. “Having an eye check done is completely free. You can contact no fewer than 2600 opticians and optometrists in the Netherlands.”
Eye problems can have various causes. For example, heredity is one of the main causes. “If there are known eye problems in the family, you should check every year.” In addition, people with type 2 diabetes are advised to have their eyes checked annually. “If we don’t do something about it now, we will get more and more people with eye problems. It starts with awareness.”
In addition, it is important to drop by for a check-up if you notice that something is wrong. Several symptoms include blurred vision, seeing spots or flashes or moving images. “You notice it when you squint – see an optician. If you have other symptoms, see your doctor.”
According to the Eye Fund, there are several things you can do to prevent visual impairment:
- Healthy food and varied living
- Getting Enough Vitamin D
- wearing sunglasses
- Look away from your screen every now and then
- Alternating between looking close and far
- Have your eyes checked regularly
However, the deterioration of the eyes cannot be prevented. From the age of 80, eye problems are a part of life. But the problems can be postponed. “The better you take care of your eyes in your early years, the more likely you’ll be able to enjoy them for longer.”