How to take care of your eyesight

Around two million people in the UK are currently living with sight loss that’s severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives. But did you know that almost half of this sight loss is avoidable?

To celebrate National Eye Health week, we spoke to eyecare experts about how you can best take care of your eyes and prolong healthy eyesight.  

Attend regular sight tests

A sight test can detect early signs of conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes or high blood pressure, which can then be treated more effectively if found soon enough.    

Aishah Fazlanie, clinical adviser at the Association of Optometrists, says: “The best way to look after your eyesight is to have a sight test every two years – or more frequently, if your optometrist recommends it. This will ensure you’re having regular eye health checks to detect signs of general health and eye conditions as soon as possible.”  

Eat a healthy diet

According to Vision Matters, what we eat can have an effect on our vision. For example, eating a diet high in antioxidants is a great way to prevent retinal damage. “Having a healthy, balanced diet reduces the risk of eye disease,” explains Aishah. “Include lots of omega-3 fats by eating oily fish like salmon and tuna, and focus on foods rich in lutein – a natural pigment found in dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale.”    

Other foods recommended for eye health include:    

Brightly coloured fruit and veg such as corn, carrots, peppers and oranges  



Take regular breaks

If you regularly work with screens, Aishah explains that your eye muscles are constantly active, which can then cause tiredness and headaches. “To prevent eye fatigue, follow the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds,” she advises. 

Wear sunglasses

Good sunglasses provide an effective barrier to protect your eyes from UV light when out in the sun, as well as making your vision more comfortable when outside on a bright day.    However, not all sunglasses are as effective, so be sure to check your shades meet the needed requirements to offer protection. “When choosing sunglasses, always make sure that they carry the UKCA, CE or British Standard marks,” advises Aishah.  

Avoid dry eyes

Your eyes can become dry, tired and sore when they’re not producing enough tears or lubrication, which can then lead to discomfort or health issues.     

Factors such as regular screen use and air conditioning can make dry eyes worse, but there are ways to help. “Using lubricating eye drops, drinking plenty of water and remembering to blink often can help soothe irritation and discomfort,” explains Aishah. “It’s important that you speak to your optometrist if you have persistently dry eyes, as it could be due to a health condition or medication.”  

Quit smoking

The best thing you can do to protect and prolong healthy eyesight is to quit smoking, as Aishah explains that “smokers are more likely to develop eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration earlier in life”.     

If you’re thinking about stopping smoking, check out some of the free help and advice available to you, as you are much more likely to quit for good with the right support.   

Research your family history

Aishah explains that some eye conditions can run in families, so knowing which conditions are prevalent within yours can help with early detection.     

But, regardless of your family history, your eyes and vision change over time and the risk of getting eye disease does increase as you get older. These changes don’t affect everyone in the same way, but Aishah explains that a few of the most common conditions are presbyopia, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.   

“It is important that you don’t wait until you notice issues with your vision before you book an appointment with your optometrist,” Aishah advises. “Having regular sight tests is the best way to protect your vision, as some eye conditions don’t cause symptoms until they have advanced to the point of being difficult to treat.”

The Association of Optometrists provides patients with lots of helpful information about looking after their eye health. Head over to the website to find out more.     

Further reading

Additional support at home

Alongside reablement, staying independent is about having peace of mind that you’re not going to be left cold or in the dark if the heating or electricity fails.

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is an important, free support service which is designed to support those who need a little extra help in the event of interruptions to their gas, water or electricity supply. If you or someone you know has extra communication, access or safety needs, signing up to the PSR will help ensure you or they can access the best possible services at all times, and feel safe and independent at home. 

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