One in three people know someone with macular disease and it is the biggest cause of blindness in the UK.
It can affect people of all ages and yet awareness remains low. To raise awareness of the condition The Macular Society released an emotional short film, 5 years Through The Eyes Of A Mum, which demonstrates the effects the condition can have on eye sight and everyday life.
So what can you do to look after your eyesight?
How You Can Help Prevent Macular Disease
Eat a balanced diet and exercise
Regular exercise and a balanced diet are important for general wellbeing and protecting against many health conditions. A diet rich in antioxidants is particularly good for maintaining healthy cells and tissues in the eyes. Ensure you’re eating a good mix of fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli. Some studies are looking at the effects of omega 3 on eye health, which is an essential fatty acid found in fish and some nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flaxseed.
Regular eye tests are important for everyone
A regular eye examination is an important health check for everyone. You should have an eye examination every two years or as often as recommended by your optician, even if you don’t have any problems with your sight. An eye examination can often detect the early signs of many eye and general health conditions before you become aware of any symptoms.
It is important to protect your eyes from blue and ultraviolet (UV) light all year round, not just in the summer. Most people are aware of the damage UV light can do to the skin, but not to the eyes. Wearing sunglasses and a broad brimmed hat or cap helps to protect your eyes. When choosing sunglasses, look for a European CE mark or British Standard BSEN 1836:2005 to ensure good quality lenses. Lenses with insufficient UV protection are more harmful than not wearing sunglasses at all. Around 80% of damage from UV and blue light occurs before the age of 18, so it’s important children also wear hats and sunglasses.
Most people know that smoking causes lung cancer, but not many realise that it can also cause blindness. Smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Smokers with a genetic predisposition to AMD are 20 times more likely to get macular disease. Smoking is the biggest ‘modifiable’ risk factor for AMD; by stopping smoking you will reduce your chance of getting the condition and your chances of it progressing.
To find out more, please visit: https://www.macularsociety.org