Gordon Moore (70) was given a “wake up call” when his optometrist detected dangerously high hypertension (blood pressure) during a routine sight test.
Gordon, a Councillor for Rushcliffe Borough Council says: “I visited my optometrist hoping he could fix my favourite pair of glasses after they were bent out of shape when I fell down the stairs and hit my head. I hadn’t expected to leave the practice later that afternoon with an urgent referral to see my GP and a diagnosis that meant I was at risk of the UK’s biggest silent killer – hypertension.”
Gordon’s optometrist, Tushar Majithia of Lunettes Opticians, Sleaford explains: “When Gordon came to see me I suggested that we examine his eyes to check there wasn’t an underlying visual problem that may have contributed to his fall. Having found no change in his visual acuity I looked at the back of his eye where it became apparent that he had severe hypertension.
Tushar continues: “Hypertension or raised blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease so I referred him directly to his GP for treatment.”
Gordon visited his GP the next day where his blood pressure measured 200mmHg / 100mmHg, significantly increasing his risk of a stroke.
He was prescribed medication, which he will need to take for the rest of his life and advised to take regular exercise, lose weight, reduce his alcohol intake and eat healthily.
Gordon explains: “My diagnosis was a shock. I had felt perfectly fit and healthy and now I was told I had a condition that put me in danger of suffering a stroke or cardiac arrest. My wife always says that that sight test saved my life!
I have always enjoyed tennis and I now play twice a week, I’ve lost some weight and enjoy a healthy diet which has helped keep my blood pressure under control.
I’d advise everyone to make sure they visit their optometrist for regular sight tests – just put in the diary along with your dental check-up. It could do more than just save your sight.”
It’s recommended that everyone has a sight test once every two years unless advised otherwise by their optometrist.
About high blood pressure.
1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure and a third of them have no idea. It is the UK’s biggest silent killer, responsible for 60% of strokes and 40% of heart attacks.
High blood pressure is also a risk factor for kidney disease and dementia*
Approximately 62,000 unnecessary deaths from stroke and heart attacks occur due to poor blood pressure control**
A blood pressure of more than 90mmHg over 60mmHg (90/60) and less than 120mmHg over 80mmHg (120/80) would be considered normal.
High blood pressure is a level consistently at or above 140mmHg and/or 90mmHg
Sight test, an essential health check
Many people think that a sight test is just about checking whether your vision needs correcting with glasses or contact lenses. But there are other important reasons to have regular sight tests.
A sight test is a vital check on the health of the eyes and can detect a range of common eye conditions.
Many of these, if found early, can be treated successfully, avoiding potential sight loss.
A sight test can also spot other health conditions such as high blood pressure raised cholesterol, diabetes and increased risk of stroke.
* Blood Pressure UK
** He F, MacGregor G. Cost of poor blood pressure control in the UK : 62 000 unnecessary deaths per year. Journal of Human Hypertension 2003; 17: 455-457 (www.nature.com/jhh/)