World Health Day on April 7 this year focuses on mental health – and here at BBR Optometry we want to remind patients and members of the wider community how important good vision is to maintaining mental well-being.
According to new estimates released by the World Health Organisation, which spearheads to campaign, the number of people living with depression increased by more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.
Researchers at Cardiff School of Optometry have carried out their own study which found that more than a third of blind and visually-impaired people are among these increasing numbers suffering from depression.
BBR chairman Nick Rumney says: “The fact people with vision problems suffer from depression should concern us all and make regular eye examinations even more of a priority.
“We tend to take our eyesight for granted but when people have low vision or even total blindness there are so many effects on their quality of life, including loss of mobility which can then lead to isolation, loneliness and even depression.
“Globally, the population is ageing rapidly and WHO reports that between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double, from 12% to 22%, and we know that Herefordshire’s population also has an older demographic.
“These older people are far more likely to experience events such as bereavement, a drop in their financial status with retirement or a disability and all of these factors can result in loss of independence and psychological distress.
“Mental health problems can also impact on physical health and the fact vision problems are so closely linked to depression shows how important regular eye examinations are.
“Early diagnosis of any conditions that could cause sight loss means you not only protect your physical health but also ensure you have good mental health as well,” he added.
Find out more about World Health Day here.