Word on Health

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Word On 'The Sneak Thief of Sight'

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. The earlier it is detected, the easier it is to treat and to prevent unnecessary loss of sight.

Unfortunately the most common form, chronic glaucoma, has no obvious symptoms like many other eye conditions. Many sufferers are unaware that they have a sight problem until it is detected during a routine eye test.

How Often Should I Go To The Optician?
It is recommended that everyone should get an eye test every two years. However, you may have been told by your optician or specialist that you should get checked more frequently.

Eye tests are free for anyone aged over 60.

What Happens In An Eye Test?
Not only does an eye test examine your vision for glasses but they are also an essential health check for your eyes. Optometrists can check for eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. They can also check for glaucoma, which left undetected may take away a lot of vision without you noticing.

Your eyes might look great and your eyesight might be fine, but that doesn't necessarily mean your eyes are healthy.

Some sight-threatening conditions, such as glaucoma, could cause you to lose up to 40 per cent of your sight before you notice a difference.

The most common eye conditions are:

  • Uveitis
  • Charles Bonnet syndrome
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal detachment
  • Coloboma
  • Cataracts
  • Giant Cell or Temporal Arteritis.

Keeping Your Eyes Happy
Between regular eye tests there are a few things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and happy.

1. 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.

2. 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.

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 protect against 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 could lead to sight loss. Find out more about nutrition and the eye and the link between obesity and sight loss.

4. 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.

For more information, visit the RNIB website at www.rnib.org.uk or call 0303 123 9999

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All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.