What you can do to try to maintain good eyesight
- Have regular eye examinations. This will allow your optometrist to spot early signs of eye disease, when it is easier to treat. Most people should have an eye examination at least every two years.
- Stop smoking. Smoking has been linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (the leading cause of blindness in the UK) and cataracts. NHS services are available to help you quit. Visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree for more information.
- Eat a diet that is rich in leafy greens and and coloured fruit and vegetables and maintain a healthy weight. This may reduce your risk of developing AMD.
- Be aware of your vision in each eye separately. Many conditions appear in one eye first. If you regularly check your vision (with glasses if you need them) by covering each eye in turn, you are more likely to notice changes. If you notice changes in your vision you should contact your optometrist for advice. Things you should look out for include straight lines (such as door or window frames) appearing distorted or wavy, or seeing blank or blurry spots in your vision.
- Optometrists can advise on, supply and fit sunglasses. Fake sunglasses , and those which are not bought from reputable retailers, may not meet the necessary UV-protection standards. It is important you buy sunglasses from your optometrist or a reputable retailer and look for the British Standards Kitemark, or the CE mark, which is the manufacturer’s assurance that the sunglasses meet the appropriate standards. Some studies suggest that exposure to high levels of sunlight throughout your life may increase your risk of developing cataracts and AMD, although this has not been proven for AMD.