Ian Thorpe Vision Health Interview
Australia's greatest Olympian, Ian Thorpe, is on a mission to ensure Australians are looking after their eyes. Having recently discovered he needs glasses, Ian is encouraging all Australians to have an eye test every two years. An eye test is an important health check as conditions such as glaucoma and diabetes can be detected. This is particularly important for those approaching 35, as this is the age when the risk of major eye conditions increases.
New research from Specsavers reveals how important vision is to Australians; close to 9 out of 10 Aussies aged 35 years and older rate sight as the most important sense. By the time we reach 35 on average we have been to 9 or more countries, read 28 books a year, watch 22 sporting games and view 80 movies, yet 6 million Australians over 35 are failing to get a regular eye test, potentially putting their eyesight at risk. It's time we looked after our eyes.
'We under appreciate our eyes until we start having issues. Of all the things I have done in the past, and everything I want to do in the future, it has made me realise what a big part good eye-sight plays. I've used my eyes throughout my career – I actually couldn't have done it without them! I decided to have an eye test about two years ago after I noticed I was straining to read and missing words, but I should have had one before they reached that stage.
Ian says, 'Your eyes are the window to your health so it's important to have them tested every two years. A test can pick up everything from a need for glasses, to diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and even diabetes. I have a family history of glaucoma so it's something I am very aware of and need to keep track of.
'When you're approaching 35 it's particularly important to be on top of your eye health, just like you would for any other aspect of your health. And there's no excuse, eye tests are bulk billed at Specsavers."
As he approaches his mid-30s, Australia's most decorated Olympian, Ian Thorpe understands the power of healthy eyesight and the amazing things that his eyes have helped him to accomplish. Ian is encouraging Australians to be proactive with their eye health to uncover potential issues before they pose a threat to overall wellbeing.
For all the experiences that our eyes help us accomplish and the importance we place on vision, most Australians don't see eye health as a priority and don't focus on eyesight to the same extent as other conditions and illnesses. The conditions Australians are most concerned about getting are cancer (58%), heart disease (37%), diabetes (26%) and high blood pressure (21%), many of which can be detected through an eye test.
Specsavers Optometrist and Director of Professional Services, Peter Larsen is calling for all Australians to make sure they get their eyes checked to detect vision problems, but also to detect any diseases or abnormalities before it's too late, 'Digital Retinal Photography is a powerful tool that allows optometrists to screen for abnormalities, assisting with the early detection of eye conditions to ensure any changes can be managed and vision can be saved. At Specsavers, this is included as part of your standard eye test."
For more information or to book an eye test online, visit www.specsavers.com.au.
Interview with Ian Thorpe
Question: How has your eye health changed, recently?
Ian Thorpe: Two years ago I noticed my eyes were straining when I was reading and on the computer. I had an eye test and discovered I needed glasses. It was a relief to be able to see properly when reading but I should have gone in for an eye test earlier than when I did.
Question: What advice do you have for Australians in regards to looking after their eyes?
Ian Thorpe: We don't appreciate our eyes enough, they do so much for us but it's only when we start noticing issues do we take the time to look after them properly and get them checked. My advice is to get them checked every two years, it's so important to stay on top of this so that any issues such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or eye strain can be picked up early and prevented from getting worse. Eye tests are bulk billed at Specsavers so it's free with a Medicare card – which means no excuses from anyone not to go!
Question: Can you tell us about
your personal experience with glaucoma?
Ian Thorpe: My grandmother had glaucoma, so I'm high risk and really need to have regular eye tests to monitor it and make sure it doesn't get worse.
Question: What's a typical day like, for you, currently?
Ian Thorpe: A typical day for me is that I don't really have a typical day! In saying that I am trying to exercise more, read more and cook more each day.
Question: How often do you train?
Ian Thorpe: I train four times a week with two personal trainers, and on the days I don't train I go for an hour long walk. Staying fit is important to me so I like to make the time to fit exercise into my days.
Question: Has wearing glasses affected your training, at all? As a swimmer, how do you manage swimming whilst needing vision assistance?
Ian Thorpe: I only need glasses for reading, so it hasn't affected my training. I also don't swim any more due to a shoulder injury.
Interview by Brooke Hunter