Our top tips for healthy eyes
- Have regular check-ups
Have your eyes tested every two years even if you think your vision is fine. An eye test can spot some eye conditions and other illnesses not related to sight. Regular check-ups are vital even if you have no symptoms.
- Find out your family eye health history
Talk to your relatives about your family eye health history. Some eye conditions have genetic links which increase your risk of developing them. Share this information with your optometrist or eye health professional.
- Take care of your contact lenses
If you wear contact lenses make sure you look after them properly. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands before touching your contact lenses or your eyes. Your lenses and their case should only ever be cleaned with the lens solution recommended by your optometrist. Always follow the instructions given to you by your optometrist or the lens manufacturer.
- Wear sunglasses
Protect your eyes when it is sunny or when you’re in high glare areas such as near snow or water. The CE or BS EN 1836:2005 marks indicate that sunglasses provide a safe level of protection from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. Ongoing UV exposure can increase your risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration.
- Protect your eyes
Wear safety glasses or protective goggles to protect your eyes from injury if you work with hazardous or airborne materials. This applies to home too if you are doing DIY, gardening or setting off fireworks.
- Keep fit and healthy
Being fit and well can help your eyes stay healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure may help with eye health. Protect your eyes when playing sports involving flying balls.
- Eat well
Make sure your diet includes nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E. These may help to prevent or delay age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Recommended foods for general good health include green leafy vegetables, oily fish such as salmon and citrus fruits.
- Stop smoking
Smoking is harmful to your eyes and can increase the risk of sight loss. Current smokers are 2-4 times more at risk of developing macular degeneration than people who have never smoked.
- Avoid recreational drugs
There is evidence to suggest that some recreational drugs can cause sight loss – particularly alkyl nitrites, also known as poppers.
Facts about sight loss
- Every 5 seconds someone in the world goes blind
- Every day 100 people in the UK start to lose their sight
- Almost 2 million people in the UK are living with significant sight loss. The number is predicted to rise to around 2.3 million by 2020 and almost 4 million by 2050
- Around 360,000 people in the UK are registered blind or partially sighted
- An estimated 25,000 children in Britain are blind or partially sighted
- 86% of people in the UK value their sight above any other sense
- Sight loss can affect people of any age but the likelihood increases as you get older: One in five people over 70 are living with sight loss
- Black and Asian people are at greater risk of developing certain conditions which can result in the onset of some of the leading causes of sight loss