Looking after your eyes
Everyday in Britain 100 people start to lose their sight. In many cases, however, a simple, regular eye check-up is all that's needed to avoid long-term damage to your sight. Having a regular eye examination (eye test) with your optometrist (optician) is the best way to make sure that your eyes are healthy.
Click here here to watch an interview with Sanjay Patel, Specsavers, Eithne Rynne, KAB Chief Executive and Jen Bent, KAB Rehab Worker on the importance on eye health.
Contact your local optometrist (optician) now to book an appointment. You can search for an optician near you on the NHS Choices website.
1. Regular eye tests
Everyone should have their eyes examined at least once every two years - even if there is no change in your vision. An eye examination can often pick up the first signs of an eye condition before you notice any changes in your vision. This can lead to you getting vital treatment at the right time, which could save your sight. Click here to find out 10 reasons to have your eyesight tested.
2. Stop smoking
Did you know smoking can double the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the UK's leading cause of sight loss? In fact, the link is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer. Speak to your GP about stopping smoking. Find out more about smoking and sight loss.
3. Eat healthily and watch your weight
Eating a diet low in saturated fats but rich in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli may help delay the progression of cataracts and AMD. Oranges, kiwis, nuts, seeds and oily fish may also help prevent and slow down some eye conditions. Taking supplements is not a substitute for a healthy diet. It is important to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can increase the risk of developing diabetes, which in turn can cause sight loss. Click here to find out more about nutrition and your eyes and the link between obesity and sight loss.
4. Keep your eyes covered in the sun
UVA and UVB rays in sunlight can harm your eyes and may increase the risk of cataracts and AMD. Wearing sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses with built in UV filter will protect your eyes. Only buy sunglasses that have a CE mark or carry British Standard BSEN 1836:1997. Find out more about protecting your eyes in the sun.
5. Safety first
DIY causes thousands of eye related injuries each year. Always wear safety goggles (European Standard BS EN 166) to protect your eyes from flying debris and fine particles. Sport (especially racquet-based sports) also causes lots of eye related injuries each year. Investing in a good pair of protective sports goggles will help prevent serious damage to your eyes.
6. Am I at greater risk of losing my sight?
Regular eye tests are particularly important if you're Asian, African, or African-Caribbean as you are more at risk of certain eye conditions. People of African-Caribbean descent are eight times more likely to develop glaucoma and it tends to appear 10-15 years earlier than in other ethnic groups.
I have a learning disability. Should I have my eyes tested?
Yes. People with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to have a sight problem than other people in the community. There are a variety of ways to support people with learning disabilities to have eye tests. To find out more about eye tests for people with a learning disability visit SeeAbility.org.
Should my children have eye tests?
Eye tests are an essential health check, they can help detect eye problems before a child has noticed changes in their sight. Babies usually have their eyes checked as part of their newborn health checks by the GP and vision screening should take place when your child is in Foundation stage (Reception class). Children can have sight tests before they can recognize letters and Optometrists usually recommend that 2-3 years is a good time to start familiarizing them with visits to the Optician. Monitoring vision is essential to your child's development and for progress at school. If there are members of your family with eye problems, talk to your doctor or optometrist (optician). Children under 16, and people aged 18 or under and in full-time education are entitled to free NHS eye tests.
What if I have been told that there is nothing more that can be done?
If you are living with a sight impairment and have been discharged from a hospital’s eye care service you should still visit your optometrist on a regular basis to ensure the overall health of your eyes.
Will I have to pay for the eye test?
Many people are entitled to free NHS sight tests. To see if you are entitled to free examinations provided by the NHS, visit the NHS website.
How you can eliminate avoidable blindness?
Every year KAB plays an active part in National Eye Health Week, hosting events across Kent, Medway and Bromley. Our message is simple; make sure you and your loved ones have your sight tested regularly. After all, it is the sense that people fear losing the most.