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Eye health and eye tests as we get older

Eye diseases don’t always cause obvious symptoms. An eye test by an optician doesn’t just check to see whether you need glasses – it’s also an important check on the health of your eyes.

Vision loss among older people is a major healthcare problem. Approximately one person in three has some form of vision-reducing eye disease by the age of 65.

Most people find that as they age, close-up vision blurs, tear ducts function less well, and eyes can get dry and inflamed. Cataracts may make your sight cloudy and hazy and cause changes to the lens in your eye.

Vision problems can lead to higher risk of falls and loss of confidence.

Keeping our eyes healthy is important as untreated vision problems can make day-to-day life harder. Vision problems can lead to higher risk of falls, loss of confidence, which can affect going out, our confidence, our wellbeing, reading and following instructions, which could have serious consequences i.e misreading prescriptions and taking the wrong medications.

Eye diseases don’t always cause obvious symptoms and regular eye tests (every two years or more often in some cases) are key to maintaining eye health as we age.

Opticians can detect small changes at an early stage, usually before we have noticed any changes. Opticians will recognise and advise treatment and follow up for common, age-related conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and diabetic eye screening. Anyone over 60 is entitled to a free eye test.

We can’t correct our vision without professional help, and there’s no quick-and-easy fix for eyesight problems but here are tips to keep your eyes healthy:

  • Get regular eye tests.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.
  • Eat healthily, particularly plenty of fruit and vegetables, which have specific nutrients that are important for eye health.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking is harmful to the eyes – research has shown that smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. Cigarette smoke irritates the eyes and will worsen dry eyes.

For more information on eyesight and how to keep your eyes healthy as we age, take a look at our website.

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