Did you know that approximately 285 million people in the world have problems with their sight or are blind? Yet 80% of sight problems are avoidable as they can treated or even prevented. The theme for World Sight Day 2015 is Eye Care for All. It’s part of a worldwide effort to improve the health of everyone’s eyes.
80% of sight problems can be treated or prevented
Making sure your eyes are healthy is particularly important for Deaf people. Research shows that problems with sight are more common in deaf people than hearing people.
The NHS recommends that everyone should have an eye test every two years. Eye tests don’t just tell you if you need glasses or a new prescription. They can also reveal a lot of information about your general health and spot problems early on
If you’re over 40 or have a family history of eye disease, you should have more frequent eye tests. More regular tests are also recommended for people from the from the African-Carribean community as this groups has a greater risk of developing diabetes and an eye disease called glaucoma. People from South Asian communities are also at greater risk of developing eye conditions connected to diabetes.
Top Tips for healthy eyes
Give up smoking
Smokers are much more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration and cataracts compared to non-smokers.
While it might seem odd that exercise can help the eyes, it can be important. Research shows that exercise may reduce the risk of sight loss, which can occur as a result of high blood pressure, diabetes, and narrowing or hardening of the arteries.
A healthy balanced diet, with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, will benefit your overall health and may help keep the retina healthy.
Drink within the recommended limits
Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of early age-related macular degeneration. The recommended daily alcohol limits are three to four units for men and two to three units for women.
Protect your eyes from the sun
Never look at the sun directly, even when something exciting is happening, such as an eclipse. Doing so can cause irreversible damage to your eyesight and even lead to blindness. Several studies also suggest that sunlight exposure is a risk factor for cataracts.
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses can help protect your eyes from UV rays. The College of Optometrists recommends buying good-quality dark sunglasses (these needn’t be expensive).
Look for glasses carrying the CE mark and the British Standard BS EN 1836:2005, which ensures they offer a safe level of ultravioletprotection.
Source NHS Choices
Photo credit: Ahmed Sinan