Please note that BucksVision staff are not professionals so if you have any concerns about your eye health or your sight please visit an optician or your GP.
Although it is not possible to prevent the development of some sight conditions there are lots of things that you can do to help your eye health. For more information on the below visit the Vision Matters website.
Visiting the Opticians is about more than checking whether you need glasses, optometrists also look at your overall eye health and can spot problems early. This is especially important for conditions such as Glaucoma (see below). The NHS recommends having tests every two years (some people may be advised to have tests more regularly).
An NHS sight test is free of charge if you're over 60 or in one of the eligible groups. Alternatively many opticians run schemes offering free eye tests.
Eating healthily, exercising and staying hydrated helps keep not only your body healthy but your eyes too. Foods such as green leafly vegetables contain nutrients that are good for your eyes, while being active can reduce your risk of developing a visual impairment by 58%.
Just like your skin UV light can have a damaging effect on your eyes as well. If you are out in the sun it is a good idea to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Make sure they are UVA and UVB protected. If you have an eye condition and find some sunglasses are too dark you can get different coloured shades that offer the same protection.
Smoking can make you more susceptible to developing eye conditions later in life.
Make sure you take regular breaks from staring at a digital screen to give your eyes a rest. You can do this by following the 20-20-20 rule, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
DIY accounts for many eye injuries. If you are planning on taking on a DIY project ensure that you wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from any flying debris.
There are many conditions that can cause sight loss, some of which affect the eye directly while other affect the brain and how it communicates with the eyes; some develop as result of issues with eyes, others are genetic conditions. Below are the five most common eye conditions in UK, many of them are the leading causes of sight loss in the UK today.
MD causes central vision loss making tasks such as reading difficult. MD is generally an age related condition but it and other macular conditions can affect younger people too. The macular is part of retina that controls central vision, as we age it can deteriorate and cause vision loss. MD comes in two forms wet and dry, wet MD can be treated by injections to slow the deterioration but dry MD cannot be currently treated. For more information about MD and other macular conditions visit Macular Society website.
Glaucoma starts with peripheral vision loss but without treatment can lead to extensive sight loss. Glaucoma occurs when the pressure in your eye is too high and it causes damage to the optic nerve. It can have no symptoms which is why visiting an optician regularly is so important as they can pick it up early. Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, although sometimes other treatments are required as well. Visit Glaucoma UK for more information.
Cataracts occur when the lens of your eye starts to cloud and the lens becomes misty. This can cause problems with glare, near vision taks and depth perception. Cataracts can normally be treated by minor operation where the misty lens is replaced with new lens.
DR occurs when consistently high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in your eyes. The damage can cause the vessels to get blocked, leak or grow randomly which affects the ability of the blood to reach the retina leading to damage. It is therefore important to manage diabetes. Visit Diabetes UK for more information.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a term often used to cover a group of inherited disorders of the retina (retinal dystrophies). The effects may be isolated to the retina (approx 75% of cases) or part of a syndrome (25%) where other parts of the body are also affected. It can lead to patchy sight loss or the loss of peripheral or central vision or both. For more information visit Retina UK.
Nystagmus involves a continuous involuntary movement of the eyes, which creates focusing difficulties. Some people have problems training both eyes to focus on the same object at the same time, while others find it hard to shift their focus from a near to a far object. Visit Nystagmas Network for more information.
If a stroke affects certain parts of the brain then this can affect your sight. Stokes can cause vision problems including visual field loss, double or blurry vision and can also affect visual processing. People can have issues with judging depth, recognising people and missing pieces of visual information.