Eye Health

Many of our 80 and 90 year olds still have 6/6 20/20 vision, a fact which really surprises a lot of younger people who assume everyone automatically goes blind as they get older. Here’s what we know about keeping your eyes in good condition and avoiding common pitfalls.

Have a regular eye exam

Approximately every two years, we take a lot of measurements and then compare these each time we see you. Subtle changes indicate future problems, many of which can be avoided, in fact it’s estimated 50% of actual blindness is avoidable.

You can book a basic NHS eye exam (click here to find out if you’re eligible) which gives you a prescription, visual field check, a modern no puff pressure check and a simple eye health check.

Our private exam includes an Optomap and/or OCT as appropriate and this can be added onto the NHS check. Click here for more information.

Be cool and wear your shades

The WHO (world health organisation) estimates 50% of cataracts could be avoided if everyone wore sunglasses. Solid tints, or Transitions, both block dangerous UV but watch out for fake designer sunglasses. The ones some patients have brought in haven’t blocked UV at all but made their pupils nice and big to let lots in.

Know your family history

Glaucoma and diabetes are two common causes of avoidable blindness that tend to run in families.

Eat right to protect your sight

Recent research shows the importance of eating a wide range of coloured vegetables - especially dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. The lutein found in dark green vegetables is part of the actual seeing cells of the eye and needs to be replenished regularly to keep your vision sharp.

Contact lenses

Keep your contact lenses (and their case) clean and wash your hands before handling them. Gardening and babies’ nappies are among the home risks for dirty hands and nails but it’s the kitchen sponge which has the most bacteria and your hand towel might not be as clean as you think if it’s shared by people who don’t wash their hand properly.

Wear protective eyewear

if it’s required for your job, it’s a legal requirement and the legislation has stopped thousands of people from going blind through accidents and saved the NHS millions. Your employer is legally obliged to provide suitable eyewear in good useable condition. In the home, the most dangerous activities are DIY and gardening. We can supply inexpensive safety glasses with a prescription.

Avoid smoking

Smoking is strongly linked to eye and heart disease. Vaping has helped some of our smoking patients give up altogether but new research suggests it’s not much safer.

Exercise

Our really fit 80 and 90 year olds recommend fun exercise such as ballroom dancing; biking; yoga; Pilates; golf, walking and rambling often mixed with a little alcohol and a lot of good company.

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