Vital to Protect Your Eyesight; HEALTH Reporter HELEN RAE Finds out More about Why You Should Look after Your Eyes

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

SIGHT is the sense people fear losing the most, yet many of us don't know the best way to look after our eyes.

As part of efforts to change this, eye-care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK have joined together for National Eye Health Week to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.

The awareness-raising campaign, which runs today until Sunday, seeks to educate members of the public about the importance of regular eye checks and dispel the myth that they're just for checking vision.

Eye experts recommend adults go for an eye test at least once every two years to maintain healthy eyes. As children's eyes change as they age, they may need to visit the optician more regularly.

Costs of eye tests vary, with some practices charging more if they include modern techniques like digital photography. People can also qualify for a free eye test if they meet certain criteria.

Opticians are independent contractors which means that they are not employed directly by the NHS but are contracted to provide services to patients for which they are paid by the NHS.

Practising optometrist Andrew McGregor, who also acts as an optometric adviser for NHS North of Tyne, said: "I would urge people not to accept deteriorating vision as just another part of ageing.

"Adults often start to struggle with close work in their 40s but glasses can normally be prescribed that will make this kind of work comfortable again.

"As well as identifying problems with vision, a sight test is also a vital check on the health of the eyes and includes the detection of eye conditions.

"Many of these, if found early, can be treated successfully, avoiding potential sight loss. A sight test can also detect other health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes."

In addition to going for a regular check-up there are also some simple things everyone can do to help look after their eyes.

Foods recommended for eye health include broad leaf greens such as spinach, brightly coloured fruit and vegetables such as carrots and oranges and oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. …