Eye Health

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Eye Health

Your eye health is important. By ensuring you attend regular eye checkups, making positive changes to your lifestyle, and including plenty of nutrients and vitamins for eye health in your diet, you can minimise your risk of common eye conditions, including cataracts and AMD (age-related macular degeneration). To help you know how best to care for your vision, here is a simple ten-step guide you can follow.

Have regular eye health check ups

Having regular eye checks is essential to identify any vision health issues and underlying conditions. Symptoms of these conditions aren’t always obvious but an optician can spot many of these early warning signs, ensuring they can be treated before they worsen.

The NHS recommends that you have an eye examination at least every two years (or more often if recommended by your optometrist), even if you don’t require glasses or contact lenses. If you have any concerns regarding your eyes, make an appointment with your optician or GP.

Be aware of your risk of various eye conditions

Some people have a higher risk of developing certain eye diseases and conditions than others. It’s important to be aware if you fall under a high-risk category, so you can make sure you are managing this with regular checks and eye treatments. You may have a higher risk if you;

  • come from a family that has a history of conditions – speak to your family members, as knowledge of your family history can help you to detect issues before they become more serious.
  • are from certain ethnic groups – for example, individuals from an African-Caribbean background are at a higher risk of glaucoma and those from a South Asian background can have more rapid eye changes secondary to diabetes.
  • are over 60 years – numerous eye conditions are age-related.
  • have a learning disability – research shows that adults with learning disabilities are 10x more likely to develop serious sight issues.

Include plenty of good foods for eye health in your diet

One of the eye care health solutions within your control is your diet. A balanced and healthy diet can help to reduce risk associated with common eye health conditions, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The best foods for eye health include nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, peaches, avocado, kale, leeks, spinach and red peppers.

Other foods that are good for eye health are cold water fish, like tuna, sardines and mackerel. The Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA in these fish can provide the eye’s cell membranes with structural support and alleviate dry eyes. In fact, research has found that eating fish just once per week can reduce your risk of early AMD by as much as 40%, showing just how crucial good eye nutrition is.

On top of that, make sure you are staying well hydrated, as dehydration can result in dry, irritated and painful eyes. You should be drinking around 6-8 glasses of water every day or more in hotter weather.

Keep active and exercise regularly

Exercising isn’t just good for your body but for your eyes as well. Scientific evidence suggests that engaging in aerobic exercise increases the vital supply of oxygen to your optic nerve to lower the pressure in your eyes. This is beneficial in fighting against conditions like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy progression. Diabetes and eye health are closely linked with poorly controlled diabetes leading to more vision issues.

Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight/BMI helps your body to preserve macular pigment density. This provides protection to the retina against cell breakdown, which can lead to AMD.

Quit smoking

Smokers are at a significantly higher risk of developing cataracts and AMD – the UK’s most common cause of sight loss – than non-smokers. This is due to the fact that tobacco chemicals cause damage to blood vessels located behind your eye.

Stopping smoking can reduce this risk, so to ensure you enjoy good eyesight and health for years to come, you should consider stopping. You can contact your GP if you require further support with quitting.

Avoid drinking more than the recommended alcohol limits

Just like tobacco, alcohol can also increase your chance of developing early AMD. Excessive alcohol affects your liver’s functions, leading to a reduction in the antioxidant glutathione which provides protection for your eyes.

Recommended levels of alcohol consumption are no more than 14 units a week on a regular basis for men and women, according to the Department of Health. It is also advised that you spread drinking across three or more days if you are regularly consuming around 14 units each week. If you need support in cutting back, you can visit DrinkAware.

Protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays

The UV rays from the sun can cause damage to your eye known as photokeratitis. This is an inflammation in the cornea’s outer layer which results in pain, swelling and watering of the eye. Long-term damage of UV exposure can also include a significantly increased risk of developing age-related conditions, such as cataracts.

Eye protection can make a big difference. The College of Optometrists recommends investing in quality sunglasses, which carry the CE or British Standard BS EN 1836: 1997 marks. These don’t need to be expensive but it’s important that they filter at least 99% of UVA and UVB light to keep your eyes safe.

For your children’s eye health, you should also ensure they always wear eye protection glasses when out in sunlight. More than half-a-lifetime’s worth of UV light will have been absorbed by a child’s eyes by the time they reach 18 years old, so it’s important to be proactive with protection.

Wear protective eyewear when necessary

The sun isn’t the only thing that can cause direct damage to your eyes. Injuries to the eye are unfortunately more common than you may think, with sport being the main cause of eye injury hospital admissions in the UK and the British Safety Council estimating that around 20,000 eye injuries occur every year as a result of DIY.

Whether you’re hitting the squash court or doing some home improvements, you should always wear eye protection goggles to prevent eye injury.

Take regular screen breaks

More and more of us are working on screens. Unfortunately, the blue light from these devices can lead to digital eye strain. Symptoms of this include vision-related problems, eye discomfort, dry eyes, fatigue and headaches.

Thankfully, there’s a simple and effective method outlining how to rest your eyes and prevent digital eye strain. This is known as the 20/20/20 rule, where you look at something 20 feet away from you, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.

Additionally, research has found that, although our eye muscles are active when working on computers, laptops and smartphones, we blink less than half the amount we do when working off a screen. Remember to blink often, as this can prevent drying of your eyes.

Rest your eyes with a good night’s sleep

Alongside resting your eyes from the strain of digital devices, you should also be giving them a good rest every night to avoid them becoming red, puffy and irritated. If you are experiencing eye discomfort due to a lack of sleep, you can alleviate this by placing a cold compress over them and relaxing for 10 minutes.

Reasons to choose Moorfields Private for your treatment

When you choose Moorfields Private for treatment, you can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality treatment and care. Moorfields Private has a worldwide reputation, with all of our surgeons holding accredited consultant positions at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, working at the very top of their profession.

Above all, we pride ourselves on offering a service with complete continuity. At each visit, you will see the surgeon of your choice who will supervise every aspect of your care from start to finish. To make an appointment with one of our consultants please call our New Patient Team on Freephone: 0800 3283 421 or Email: moorfieldsprivate.enquiries@nhs.net

Further information

For more information on how to promote good eye health, check out our blog posts below;

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