Taking care of your eyes

15/08/18

The Consultus Training team highlight the importance of good eye health and explain some of the more common conditions to be aware of.

Eye examinations are a vital health check and should be part of everyone’s normal health care routine. Regular eye checks with a local optometrist are recommended. 

AGING EYES

Falls have been linked to poor eyesight as it takes longer to adapt to changing light conditions with age, and more light is needed to see clearly.

Tips for healthy eyesight:

  • Have regular eye examinations – people over the age of 60 are entitled to a free NHS sight test
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a diet rich in leafy greens and coloured fruit and vegetables
  • Be aware of the vision in each eye separately, covering each eye in turn, as many conditions appear in one eye first
  • Wear UV absorbing sunglasses in strong sunlight

To reduce falls:

  • Have good lighting
  • Ensure lights are turned on when it is dark
  • Ensure carpets are well fitted and not worn and rugs are properly fixed
  • Wear suitable footwear indoors and out
  • Have good contrast between each step to make them easier to see
  • Wear a hat or UV sunglasses if dazzled by bright light
  • Wear prescribed glasses
  • Read 'Stay on your feet: How to prevent a fall' for more tips

EYE DISEASE

Eye disease is also more likely to develop with age. Cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, blepharitis, floaters and flashes are all possible age-related occurrences. 

Cataracts form when the clear lens inside the eye becomes misty; the main cause is age, although smoking and exposure to strong sunlight have been linked to their development.  Cataracts form slowly and most people will experience a gradual blurring of their vision.  Glasses may need changing more often or a routine operation to remove the cataracts.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) happens when the macula at the back of the eye, used for seeing fine detail such as reading, becomes damaged. Common symptoms are straight lines appearing as wavy, or patches missing from vision.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside the eye. The risk of glaucoma increases with age and checks should be more regular if a close family member is affected. Eye drops may reduce the pressure and help control the build-up of fluid but if left untreated, may cause tunnel vision and blindness.

Blepharitis can be uncomfortable but rarely causes serious eye damage. An inflammation of the rim of the eyelid, this causes red, puffy or crusty deposits and itchy or irritated eyes. In severe cases lashes might fall out or small ulcers or styes may develop. It can be treated by keeping eyelids clean.

Floaters are small dark spots or strands which appear to float in front of the eyes. Common and generally harmless, they can occur with short-sight or age. Flashes of light may also appear, possibly due to movement of the gel inside the eye. A sudden increase in either condition could be a sign of a retinal detachment, requiring treatment as soon as possible.

 If you or your client experience any vision problems it is important to contact a local optometrist for advice.

Extracts taken from the College of Optometrists.

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Image credit: Photo by Designecologist from Pexels

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