Look after your eyes!
We’re here to support you whenever you need us. Visit our easy-to-read eye condition guides can help you understand your diagnosis, treatment options and what to expect in future.
Did you know that 50% of sight loss is avoidable? You’ll also find below advice on how to look after your eyes and the importance of a regular eye health check.Having an eye examination at least once every two years should be part of everyone’s health care routine. Over half of all sight loss in the UK is preventable. If you have more questions please get in touch with our friendly sight advice team, who will take the time to answer your questions in clear and simple language.
Why are regular eye tests so important?
It’s easy to neglect your eyes because they rarely hurt when there’s a problem. Having and eye test won’t only tell you if you need new glasses or a change of prescription, it’s also an important eye health check. It can spot many general health problems and early signs of eye conditions, such as glaucoma, before you are aware of any symptoms – many of which can be treated if found early enough.
What about my child’s sight?
Children don’t usually complain about their sight, but many show signs of not being able to see properly. Things to look out for include holding objects very close to their face, blinking a lot, eye rubbing or one eye turning in or out. If your child is having any sort of sight problems, take him/her to the Optometrist for further advice. Children don’t have to be able to recognise letters to have their eyes examined. Like adults, children should have regular eye checks around every two years.
Are some people more at risk?
Anyone can develop sight problems but some people have a higher risk of eye disease. It is especially important to have regular eye tests if you are:
From certain ethnic groups; for example, people from African-Caribbean communities are at greater risk of developing glaucoma and diabetes and people from south Asian communities are at greater risk of developing diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy, in which the retina becomes damaged, is a common complication of diabetes. You may also be at greater risk if you are above 60 years of age, have a learning disability or are from a family with a history of eye disease.
Noticed a change in your sight?
Visit your optician or GP if you are concerned about any aspect of your vision or eye health.
How often should I have an eye test?
Optometrists recommend that people over 40 and people from black and minority ethnic groups have a sight test every two years (or more frequently if advised).
Are sight tests and glasses free?
Lots of people are entitled to free NHS-funded sight tests and an optical voucher, which will help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses. Find out more about eyecare entitlement at NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk
Will smoking effect my eyes?
Smokers are much more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration and cataracts compared to non-smokers. For help to quit, contact your local Stop Smoking service.
Will excercise help?
While it may appear odd that exercise can help the eyes, it can be important. Research shows that exercise may reduce the risk of sight loss, which can occur from high blood pressure, diabetes and narrowing or hardening of the arteries.
What about diet?
A healthy balanced diet with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables will benefit your overall health and therefore may also help keep the retina healthy.
Does alcohol effect sight?
High alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of early age-related macular degeneration.
What about sunglasses?
Never look at the sun directly, even when something exciting is happening, such as an eclipse. This can cause irreversible damage to your eyesight and even lead to blindness. Several studies also suggest that sunlight exposure is a risk factor for cataracts. Wearing a wide brimmed hat or sunglasses can help to protect your eyes from UV rays. The College of Optometrists recommends buying good quality, dark sunglasses (these needn’t be expensive). Look glasses carrying the ‘CE’ mark and the British Standard BS EN 1836:2005, which ensures that the sunglasses offer a safe level of ultraviolet protection.