People tend to assume that their eyes will look after themselves and that they only have to worry when they can’t see properly. This is not the case.

People tend to assume that their eyes will look after themselves and that they only have to worry when they can’t see properly. This is not the case.

  • More than 50% of sight loss is preventable.
  • Several studies also suggest sunlight exposure is a risk factor for cataracts.
  • Smoking Increases the risk of sight loss – there is a strong link between smoking and eye health.
  • If you eat a healthy diet and avoid becoming overweight you have less chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes, which can also affect your eyes. 20% of people with Type 2 Diabetes will develop Diabetic Retinopathy.
  • DIY accidents cause 20,000 eye injuries every year

Certain groups are more at risk of eye diseases. It’s especially important to have regular eye tests if you are:

  • Over 60 years of age
  • From certain ethnic groups: people from Afro-Caribbean communities are at greater risk of developing glaucoma and diabetes, and people from south-Asian communities are also at a greater risk of developing diabetes – diabetic retinopathy, where the retina becomes damaged, is a common complication of diabetes
  • Someone with a learning disability
  • Belong to a family with a history of eye disease

Things you can do to protect your vision:

Have regular eye tests

Opticians recommend that most people have an eye test at least every 2 years. People over 40 and people from black or minority ethnic groups may need sight tests more often.

Find out if you can get an eye test for free on the NHS.

An eye examination is not just about whether you need new glasses – it is an eye health check-up. You can have the early stages of an eye condition without knowing anything about it; an eye examination will detect this and enable you to get the treatment you need.

If you have any concerns about your sight visit your optician or GP. Find your nearest NHS optician.

Give up smoking

Smoking can increase the risk of developing macular degeneration.

Find out about the help and support available to stop smoking.

Drink within the recommended limits

Alcohol may increase the risk of developing macular degeneration.

Keep tabs on your drinking with the Drinkaware alcohol tracker.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Getting out in the sun is important for your general health, but you must be sure to protect yourself.

The NHS makes the following recommendations:

  • Never look at the sun directly, even when something exciting such as an eclipse is happening.
  • Wear awide brimmedhat and/or sunglass to help protect your eyes from UV rays.

Your sunglasses should block out 75-90 per cent of visible light and 99-100 per cent of UV rays. If they are not this efficient, you could be doing serious damage to your eye sight.

The College of Optometrists recommends buying good-quality dark sunglasses. Look for glasses carrying the CE mark or the British Standard BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013, which ensures they offer a safe level of ultraviolet protection.

Eat a healthy diet

Foods to help promote eye health are not limited to carrots! Maintaining healthy blood sugar and blood fat levels and eating a balanced diet can help you to protect your eyesight.
Foods that are particularly good for healthy eyes are colourful fruit and vegetables, which contain plenty of antioxidants. Try to have at least five portions of these every day.

  • Tomatoes
  • Red, orange and yellow peppers
  • Carrots
  • Aubergines
  • Kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, and cabbage
  • Oranges, Peaches, Apricots, Mango
  • Kiwi fruit, green grapes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Other eye health super foods are those that contain omega 3 oils
  • Oily Fish – this includes mackerel, sardines and salmon
    Egg yolks
    Try to incorporate the oily fish and egg yolks into your diet three times a week.If you don’t eat fish and/or eggs, try to include more nuts, seeds and pulses into your diet.

Read more on the RNIB’s information on eye health

The College of Optometrists’ website has more information about how to look after your eyes.

Sight Concern Worcestershire

Bradbury Centre, 2 Sansome Walk, Worcester WR1 1LH

Registered Charity: 1136716
Company number: 07258623