Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom
Clinical Adviser, The College of Optometrists
Daniel Hardiman-McCartney from the College of Optometrists answers common questions around poor eyesight.
What are some of the causes of poor eyesight?
Poor eyesight can be caused by a range of conditions and factors. For example, cataracts have many causes. Most people start to develop cataracts after the age of 65, but some people in their 40s and 50s can also develop them.
Some medical conditions such as diabetes or taking medication, such as steroids, may also cause cataracts. Smokers are more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers and there may be a link between UV rays and cataracts. A very small number of babies are born with a cataract.
Another example is short sightedness, also known as myopia. The condition usually starts during primary school years and tends to worsen until the eye has stopped growing. Myopia can also develop in very young children. Adults may also become short-sighted. You are more likely to become short-sighted if your parents are too.
What impact does poor eyesight have on life?
Poor eyesight can have an impact on every aspect of your life. Recent research conducted by the College showed that 21% of people struggle with everyday tasks due to problems with their eyesight, some of those struggles may be correctable. The same survey showed that 31% of adults in the UK noticed their vision get worse since the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdowns. Your optometrist can help ensure you have the appropriate eyewear and check the overall health of your eye.
Recent research conducted by the College showed that 21% of people struggle with everyday tasks due to problems with their eyesight.
What can people do if they are concerned about their sight?
It is very important that if you feel your vision has deteriorated or if you are experiencing any problems with your eyes that you should contact your local optometrist.
We estimate around 30% of people postponed their eye care during the pandemic. At earlier stages in the pandemic, we know that many people were concerned about the safety of visiting an optometrist. Please be assured that optometrists are open and are safe to visit.
Do you have any tips for avoiding eyestrain?
- Practice the 20-20-20 rule. To give your eye muscles a rest every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
- Blink regularly.
- Have your screen below eye level and between 40 to 75cm away.
- Make your text size bigger to make it more comfortable to read.
- Use lubricating drop if your eyes get dry.