Keeping your eyes healthy

According to RNIB every day another 100 people will start to lose their sight and there are already around 2 million people in the UK with sight problems. It's vitally important, not only to recognise the most prevalent sight problems for people, but also what can be done to prevent or treat them.

Common causes of sight loss:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)  

AMD is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK. It is not painful and usually involves both eyes. There are two types of AMD, referred to as wet and dry. In the early stages your central vision may be blurred with objects appearing distorted and straight lines appearing fuzzy. People may experience blind spots, increased sensitivity to light or a loss of colour vision. Both types of AMD can lead to loss of central vision.

Research has shown that smoking and poor nutrition are key risk factors for developing AMD. There are also a number of genes which can increase the risk of developing AMD.  

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged by raised eye pressure or a weakness of the optic nerve. The most common form of Glaucoma is chronic (or open angle) glaucoma, which develops over many years. In chronic glaucoma, pressure inside the eye rises very slowly with gradual loss of vision making it hard to detect early. Glaucoma can be managed with eye drops which will usually prevent or slow down further damage. In some cases laser treatment or surgery may be required. People from black African communities are more at risk of developing open angle glaucoma earlier in life and it can be more difficult to treat, early diagnosis can be particularly important. While less common, acute glaucoma is mostly found South East Asian) communities. At present glaucoma cannot be prevented but if detected early and treated adequately severe sight loss is usually avoidable.  

Cataract

A cataract is a clouding of the lens, the transparent structure at the front of the eye which helps focus light onto the retina enabling us to see clear images. When a cataract forms the lens becomes clouded, reducing and blurring vision.

Cataracts are most commonly age-related. Cataracts do occur in younger people though often this is because someone has diabetes, takes certain medications or has other longstanding eye problems. Some children are born with cataracts while others develop them at a young age. There are thought to be several causes of cataracts. The most common cause is getting older. Some studies have linked smoking, excessive exposure to sunlight over a life time and poor diet again throughout life with cataract development Cataracts are very common with one in three people over 65 being diagnosed in the .UK. The vast majority of cataracts can be treated successfully with a routine local anesthetic procedure.  


Tips for healthy eyes

Every day around 100 people start to lose their sight, despite the fact that most sight loss is avoidable. Keep your eyes healthy by following these simple eye-care steps.

• Have a regular eye test at an opticians. Early detection means more chance of successful treatment.

• Don’t smoke. It greatly increases the risk of certain eye conditions.

• Eat healthily. Include lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet to maintain eye health.

• Keep trim. Obesity is linked to diabetes and diabetic eye disease and also age-related macular degeneration   (AMD), so stay trim to avoid sight problems.

• Always wear sunglasses with a UV filter.

If you or someone you know has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk.
Author: Andrew Adams | Category: Blog | 15/06/2011 | 0

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