Men reminded to put their health first

Men are reminded to put their eye health first to help eliminate preventable eye conditions.

Monday, June 14 marked the beginning of Men’s Health Week and optometrists are encouraging Australian men in QLD to take their health into their own hands.

New research by Specsavers has revealed that 43 percent of men, the equivalent to 10,492 men in Gympie, will wait until they experience a health issue before booking a check-up rather than engage in regular appointments, closing the window for early detection on eye conditions.

Specsavers data also reveals that compared to their female counterparts, over half a million men (594,920) are failing to attend eye test appointments each year.

Specsavers optometrist, Simon Kelly, says that while this research comes as no surprise, not having regular eye tests or leaving symptoms to linger can sometimes have serious consequences.

“Unfortunately, lots of men still have this ‘she’ll be right’ attitude or just don’t get around to looking after themselves, even when they’re experiencing a problem.

“We see it time and time again. The issue with waiting when it comes to something like your eyes is that if there is something wrong, you don’t want to be in a situation where you end up with vision loss when it could have been easily prevented,” he commented.

Specsavers research found that 81 percent of men have experienced an issue with their eyes, yet almost 1 in 4 (22 percent) of these men would rather wait for the issue to go away by itself rather than book an appointment with an optometrist or healthcare professional.

“Most eye conditions can be easily managed or treated especially if it’s picked up early, it’s when things are left that it can get more complicated.

“We’re talking about our eyes here and we only have one set of them, so we need to remember to look after them, whether that’s wearing protective eye gear while doing home maintenance projects or whether it’s seeing an optometrist when we have a problem,” Simon added.

The research also found that older men are leading by example, with younger men aged 18-34 (22 percent) far more likely to wait until their partner or family member prompts them to book a health checkup, compared to older Australian men aged 50+ (5 percent).

“On average, we see less men coming in for eye tests than women, especially younger men, and yet we tend to refer more men on to specialists for further investigation for eye conditions like those caused by complications from diabetes. So our message to all men in QLD is to ensure these appointments are being made regularly, even if you don’t have someone to hold you accountable,” Simon continued.

According to Specsavers own data, in 2020, more men were referred on for further investigation than women for diabetes related complications.

The data also found that patient referrals were up by 7 percent, resulting in an additional 7,437 men being referred to ophthalmology than the previous year.

Other key findings from the research included:

• Married men are much more likely to engage in regular health check-ups* (61 percent) than nonmarried men (44 percent), revealing that there really is power in pestering.

• 43percent of men in QLD will wait until there is a health issue before going to a health professional for a check-up.

• Almost one in five (18 percent) men in QLD say that they do have a family history of any eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy.

• Interestingly, just under one in five QLD men (18 percent) say they do not know or are not sure of their family history with respect to eye health

• Almost one in five (15 percent) men in QLD have experienced an eye issue that was caused by a home improvement/ maintenance project

• Almost six in ten Australian men (59 percent) say they always (26 percent) or sometimes (32 percent) wear safety glasses, whilst four in ten will rarely (23 percent) or never (18percent) wear safety glasses when doing home tasks.

• Having a partner impacts the use of safety glasses with married men in Australia (64 percent) being more likely than those who are not married (50 percent) to say they sometimes or always wear safety glasses when doing home tasks