Are employees across the UK potentially ignoring signs of dangerous eye conditions by misdiagnosing their own symptoms as allergies?
That’s the question Specsavers is prompting employers to ask their staff during this Allergy Awareness Week (25 April to 1 May).
Bloodshot, burning and swollen eyes are all symptoms of common allergies like hay fever. And with the summer months fast approaching and temperatures on the rise – so are the levels of pollen in the air. Whilst offices in the summer months will often see at least one person sat in the corner rubbing their eyes, opticians are warning employers that it shouldn’t just be dismissed as ‘hay fever’ without further investigation.
Many employers and employees don’t realise that the symptoms typically associated with allergies could also be the signs of a potentially serious eye condition.
Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers’ clinical spokesperson, warns of the need to get a check up:
‘Dismissing streaming or puffy eyes as just hay fever is a mistake many people make during the summer months. If employees start to experience discomfort or irritation that doesn’t go away with the help of antihistamines, there’s a chance it could be the sign of an eye infection.
Irritated, achy and red eyes can also be a sign of iritis which in some cases can lead to serious complications including cataracts, glaucoma, calcium being deposited on the cornea, swelling within the retina or irregular pupil from scar tissue sticking to the cornea, making the iris sluggish in its reaction to light.
Dr Nigel Best added:
‘It’s important that employees seek the advice of their optometrists as they will be able to provide guidance on the correct care and solutions. In addition, a number of Specsavers stores now offer eye health clinics where you can receive treatment for a range of minor eye conditions without needing to visit your GP or hospital.
‘Many companies already offer eyecare to their staff, and we would encourage them to communicate this important benefit specifically at this time.’