Dave Myers, 62, is a British television chef that has enjoyed enduring success as one half of the Hairy Bikers, along with Si King. The duo has presented a number of cooking shows over the years for the BBC, and the format of their show – a playful mixture of cookery and travelogue – has been well-received by the public. An unexpected health discovery a few years back threatened his livelihood, however.
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The TV chef was told he might have glaucoma after going for a check-up at his opticians.
Dave initially dismissed the claim, suggesting his vision problems were the result of having a skinful the night before, but the optician was insistent he went for further examinations.
He was wise to heed the optician’s advice – the first symptoms of glaucoma were setting in.
What is glaucoma?
According to the NHS, glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged.
It’s usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye.
Glaucoma can lead to loss of vision if it’s not diagnosed and treated early – a potential outcome that would have been disastrous for dave.
He said: As a chef my sense of taste and smell are extremely important. But of all the senses, sight is the one I’d fear losing most.
“My work is my passion so it’s impossible to imagine doing all the things I love if I couldn’t see – riding my bike, reading an autocue or preparing dishes.”
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Dave was lucky to have been alerted to his condition as it does not usually cause any symptoms to begin with.
It tends to develop slowly over many years and affects the edges of your vision (peripheral vision) first.
For this reason, many people do not realise they have glaucoma, and it’s often only picked up during a routine eye test, as in Dave’s case.
“If you do notice any symptoms, they might include blurred vision, or seeing rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights,” noted the NHS.
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How to treat it
It’s not possible to reverse any loss of vision that occurred before glaucoma was diagnosed, but treatment can help stop your vision getting worse, explains the NHS.
The treatment recommended for you will depend on the type of glaucoma you have, explains the NJS.
Dave manages the condition with eye drops: “I put a drop in each eye last thing at night. That’s no real hardship and something I do punctiliously.”
Other treatment options include:
- Laser treatment – to open up the blocked drainage tubes or reduce the production of fluid in your eyes
- Surgery – to improve the drainage of fluid
You’ll also probably need regular appointments to monitor your condition and check the treatment is working, added the NHS.
Dave now gets his eyes checked once a year in hospital and has a full examination by an optician every other year.
In light of his experience, Dave is urging everyone to go for a routine check-up, explaining that the procedure is painless yet vital.
You should have a routine eye test at least every two years, according to the NHS. Testing glaucoma involves quick and painless examinations including vision tests and measurements of the pressure inside your eye.
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