E Many people need to have regular eye examinations at least once every two years, as the optometrist can detect early signs of eye condition long before he notices any changes in his vision. People over 40 or with a family history of conditions like glaucoma or diabetes should take an eye test every year. Optometrists can also detect conditions such as high blood pressure. Smoking is a major risk to eye health: studies show that smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to develop age-related macular degeneration, which gradually erodes central vision. Smoking when you have diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy, in which elevated blood sugar levels damage the retina and can cause blindness.
Exposure to ultraviolet light also damages the eye, and some studies suggest that UVA and UVB rays may increase the risk of cataracts. Wear goggles or contact lenses with a built-in UV filter or sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.
A healthy, balanced diet is conducive to long-term eye health, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. It is important to combine this with regular exercise, as some eye conditions have major factors associated with poor cardiovascular health. Poor circulation can increase the risk of obstruction of the retinal vessels, with obstruction of blood vessels in the eye leading to loss of vision.
Speaks to Pointe Patel, Information Health Officer at the Royal National Institute of the Blind. to Lucinda Campbell