ALAN NIGEL PITCHFORD
I hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying the start of the summer weather.
I thought I would address something that I feel so many of us take for granted until we find it failing us – our vision. I have now had to start wearing glasses on a permanent basis and have found it most inconvenient. The deterioration in my sight has been rapid and I have found this quite alarming. To make me even more aware of how I have taken my sight for granted, my mother-in-law woke up one morning to find that she was unable to see out of her right eye. The diagnosis was that a blood vessel had burst at the back of her eye and that she had macula degeneration. She has been undergoing treatment and this is proving most successful but, if neglected, would have ended up with her having only peripheral vision in her right eye.
Put very simply, macular degeneration usually affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the centre of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. It is a major cause of visual impairment in older adults (>50 years) and can make it difficult or impossible to read, or recognize faces, although sometimes enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life. It can be hereditary and so if your parents have had it, please ensure that you have an annual check with an opthamologist from the age of 50. In order to keep your eyes healthy it is also important to follow a good diet which includes plenty of omega oils and vitamin C. There are also good “eye” vitamins on the market, such as Ocuvite, although they are expensive. It is also essential to wear good sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays which can damage the covering cornea, or even deeper structures including the retina. Your eyes should be exercised like any other muscle – e.g. keeping your head upright, move your eyes from side to side, up and down, together and in circular patterns.
If you are experiencing blurry vision it could be linked to diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, your medication and numerous other non specific factors – it is essential that you have it checked before any further damage is done.
Seek the help of an osteopath if you have been checked for any of the above and your vision is still blurred - the cause then is almost definitely mechanical. There is a direct link between visual disturbance and neck problems. Tension in the muscles of the neck, arthritis of the upper neck, and long-term stiffness and restriction in movement of the neck can all affect your eyes. This is a common problem with desk workers who slouch in their chairs and look at computer screens all day or, even worse, hold the telephone between their ear and shoulder. Neck stretches will also prove beneficial.
Unfortunately I also have to advise that I am leaving on the 14 November to return to the UK for a couple of months. During this time I will be wearing my hat as an Operating Department Practitioner. It is important that I spend some time in the theatre in order to retain my registration. It also enables me to see what advancements are currently being made in the surgical world and to attend courses which should enhance my osteopathic skills.
Have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year – and remember not to pile on the kilograms – input versus output – if you want to eat more you need to exercise more. Keep mobile.
Here’s to your good health