Ask the ex­perts: eyes

Wor­ried about your vi­sion? Our ex­pert an­swers some com­mon sight-re­lated queries

YOURS (UK) - - News -

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

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