Hervey Bay Independent : 16th July 2015
A vision of a brighter future WE live in a visual world and caring for our eye sight has never been more important, which is why Richard Watt Optometrist is passionate about proactive vision solutions for the whole community. In the midst of National Diabetes Week (July 1218), the practice is hoping to raise awareness within the community of diabetic retinopathy, a condition where changes in the blood cause damage to blood vessels in the eye, and how a proactive eye exam can help prevent severe vision loss in the future. Damage caused by diabetic retinopathy starts with leakage of small blood vessels and leads to bleeding and swelling within the retina, the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye. With the fi fth highest rate of diabetes prevalence in Australia, residents of the Wide Bay Burnett are facing an unprecedented threat to their vision. While little is known about prevention of the condition, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent up to 98 per cent of severe vision loss. “Two types of retinopathy can occur,” Richard explained. “The fi rst, known as background retinopathy, rarely causes any vision loss but is a wakeup call for better diabetes control. “The second, proliferative retinopathy, is more serious and requires early treatment to prevent severe vision loss.” In some cases, laser or surgical treatment of the retina is needed to prevent further damage to the eye and to recover vision. Richard takes a closer look at Gwen’s eyes using their new retina scanning technology, which provides an unprecedented 200 degree fi eld of view - helping early detection of conditions like diabetic retinopathy. “All people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and the longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk,” he said. “Poor control of blood sugar levels can also increase the risk.” It is estimated that only half of Australians with diabetes have a regular eye exam and one third have never been checked. “An eye exam every year is necessary for people with diabetes because often there are no symptoms of diabetic retinopathy until serious damage has occurred,” he said. Richard and his beautiful wife Gwen regularly upgrade or introduce new technology to their practice to help improve detection of conditions like diabetic retinopathy. “We’ve got marvellous equipment for doing super wide fi eld photography and also the laser 3D cross section of the back of the eye to pick up any bleeding, aneurysms, macula oedema and the like which are common complications of diabetic retinopathy,” he said. The most recent addition is the Optomap, which provides a 200 degree fi eld of view of the back of the eye so Richard can detect even the smallest amount of damage. “The technology is way beyond anything we’ve ever been able to do before, we’ve had that for around two months and it’s just incredible,” he said. Richard, Gwen and their dedicated team of assistants have been helping Fraser Coast residents see clearly for more than 25 years. For the energetic couple, optometry is more than just a job. “It’s life changing and that’s why we’re so passionate about it,” Gwen said. “It’s pretty amazing when you discover an eye problem even before it causes any symptoms or loss of vision. Then we can intervene so early for the best possible outcome.” Richard and Gwen go above and beyond for all of the Hervey Bay community. Last year, they performed more than 1000 free eye Diabetes can harm your eyes and increase the risk of glaucoma and other eye problems. Specialised diagnostic testing is your best defence against permanent diabetes-related vision loss. Catch problems early by booking an eye examination today. Honest Friendly Professional Phone 4197 1475 | 67 Main St, Pialba | www.richardwatt.com.au Hervey Bay Independent, July 16, 2015 | 23 exams on students from across 12 local schools. “We vision screen at schools and you come across kids who are real trouble makers, not enjoying school and totally unable to concentrate in class,” Gwen said. “You go back the following year and fi nd that child who you prescribed glasses for or discovered what the problem was, they’re learning and doing things and just loving school again - their whole future has changed.” Around 85 per cent of learning is visually directed, meaning good sight is essential for childhood development. “That’s why we do it, because we know we can make a difference,” she said. Richard’s passion for perfection and the best possible outcome for every client has helped make the practice a household name. “It’s great to combine great equipment, commitment and knowledge to pick up problems early, do an appropriate referral and get early treatment to achieve a better outcome for the client,” he told the Indy. “For us, it means less damage to the back of the eye, less vision loss and peoples’ lives are changed.” Richard’s practice provides full-scope optometry, which includes; eye examinations, prescribing glasses and contact lenses, performing extensive additional diagnostic services, assisting with low vision aids for partially sighted people, vision training and other unique services. To book an appointment with the team, contact Richard Watt Optometrist on 4197 1475 today.
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