Ask the experts: eyes
Worried about your vision? Our expert answers some common sight-related queries
Q Can my diet really have an impact on my vision?
A “We know that maintaining a healthy weight is not only good for your body, but also good for your eyes, as people who are overweight are more likely to develop diabetes, which may, in turn, affect their eyes. They are also more at risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK. “We currently believe that eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, including dark green leaves, is good for your general health and may support good eye health. “There are lots of dietary supplements on the market which claim to be beneficial for eye health. While there is little evidence that the general population should be taking these supplements, they may be helpful for some people with existing AMD. Speak to your optometrist about whether they might be right for you.”
Q My eyes always feel so dry – what can I do?
A “This may be because you’re getting older, or that the glands producing the oily part of your tears are blocked. This is called blepharitis and can be treated with warm compresses and keeping your eyelids clean. Also your body may no longer produce enough tears, or they may evaporate too quickly. You can get artificial tear drops if you aren’t producing enough or a spray to use on your closed eyelids if your tears evaporate too quickly. Ask your optometrist for more information.”
Q I struggle to drive at night and find the glare from other cars dazzling – should I be worried and what can I do?
A “This is a very common problem, particularly as some car headlights are so bright these days. It is important to make sure your glasses are up to date and have an anti-reflection coating to reduce the glare from headlights. “If you still find that driving at night is difficult, it may be that you have an early cataract (when the lens inside your eye goes misty). This may scatter light, making bright things appear dazzling. This is nothing to worry about, and is a natural consequence of ageing. Speak to your optometrist to ask whether this is the case with you.”
Dr Susan Blakeney is a practising optometrist and clinical advisor at the College of Optometrists