Over half of all sight loss is due to preventable or treatable causes: One million people in the UK are currently living with sight loss that could have been prevented.
Follow our top tips to help protect your eyesight and prevent problems arising in the future. If you can’t follow all of our tips, make sure you do the most important thing: visit your optician and have an eye test!
Wear sunglasses: Ultra violet light from the sun can cause damage to your eyes. To reduce risks, when outside in the sun always wear sunglasses that have a UV factor rating and carry the CE mark.
Take regular screen breaks: If you use a computer, take frequent breaks from your screen – at least one an hour. Resting your eyes can avoid headaches, eyestrain, soreness and double vision.
Eat the right food: Foods containing either lutein or zeaxanthin can help prevent eye conditions like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. They are found in many fruit and vegetables including: mango, squash, broccoli, green beans, and spinach.
Know your family eye history: Glaucoma is a condition which if detected early can be treated and controlled. It can be hereditary, so if family members have the condition you need to get your eyes tested more regularly.
Clean your contact lenses: Only use commercially prepared solutions for contact lens care. Never use tap or distilled water, or saliva. If you don’t stick to a strict cleansing routine your eyes can become infected and you risk corneal disease, or even the loss of an eye. You should never sleep in your contacts unless advised you can by the optometrist.
Wear safety glasses: Cleaning, DIY or gardening can be hazardous to your eyes as chemicals, garden debris, or nails and splinters can all cause injury. Consider wearing safety goggles.
Diabetics: Although the majority of diabetics never experience any eye problems, people who have diabetes are at risk of losing vision through a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
Visit your optician: More than half of all sight loss is avoidable if the cause is caught early. A regular eye test can identify any early indications of diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. It can also identify other problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure for which the optometrist can refer you back to a GP. It is recommended that people have an eye test every two years – which is free to anyone under 16 or over 60 – but research shows that one in four of us fail to do this.