Well-being and optometric practice

Optometrists talk to patients about eye health every day, and have an important role to play in health promotion and public health.

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Introduction

Improving public health is a leading issue facing the healthcare professions today. The concept of health is broad and defi ned by the World Health Organization as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infi rmity’ (World Health Organization 1946). Vision loss at any life stage impacts all of these and critically is associated with a signifi cant reduction in well-being, with a threefold increase in depression in the elderly (Evans et al. 2007). Almost two million people in the UK live with some degree of sight loss and more than half of this loss could be avoided (Figure 1) (Evans et al. 2004). The prevalence of vision loss will increase as the population ages, with a parallel rise in age-related macular degeneration (AMD); this will be further compounded by the impact of rising obesity and diabetes in the population as a whole. 

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