According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), 50% of all sight loss is avoidable, yet more than 20 million of us fail to have regular sight tests. Research estimates that around 80% of our perception, learning, cognition and activities are understood through our vision. We use our eyes from the moment we wake up so making sure we take care of them is a must.
The importance of getting your eyes tested
27% of UK adults haven’t had their eyes tested in the last two years and many of these people may be unknowingly living with bad vision. Corrective eyewear has developed to be both comfortable and stylish, so why are people still avoiding eye tests?
It’s recommended you get your eyes tested every two years. Your eyes don’t always give you signals that something is wrong as other parts of your body do, so it’s important to keep up to date with your checks.
There’s more to your eyes than how good your vision is, a lot of health issues can be detected by your optometrist. Tests can spot the early signs of conditions before you notice them, many of which can be treated if they’re caught early. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. Regular eye tests mean that any early signs will be spotted, allowing you to treat it before damage to the optic nerve gets too severe. Opticians can also sometimes detect conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and increased risk of stroke.
Ways you can help look after your eyes
a balanced diet can help you look after your eyes. Eating lots of leafy greens, colourful fruit and vegetables, fish, eggs and wholegrain can give you all the essential nutrients for good eye health. Drinking plenty of water is also important to keep your eyes hydrated throughout the day.
Protect your eyes
UV radiation from the sun isn’t just bad for your skin, it can also damage the cornea, lens and other parts of your eye. UV exposure is also known to contribute to the development of growths on the eye, certain types of cataracts and possibly macular degeneration (RNIB). Wearing sunglasses will help to protect your eyes from these rays and also protect the delicate skin around your eyes.
Wear your prescription
If your opticians have prescribed glasses or contact lenses, make sure you wear them as instructed. Wearing corrective eyewear can help prevent eye strain, eye fatigue and headaches. Not wearing your glasses won’t make your eyesight worse, but it will make your eyes work harder, and lead to the symptoms listed.
Take breaks from screens
Many of us spend most of our day looking at a screen, which can put enormous strain on our vision. Try to follow the ‘20-20-20 rule’, look away from your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds focusing on objects that are 20 feet away. This small change can help combat the effects of screen fatigue that can leave your eyes feeling sore, itchy and tired.
The link between smoking and sight loss is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer. Smoking harms tissues in your eyes and has been shown to double the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the UK’s leading cause of sight loss. It’s also linked to the development of cataracts, and while these are treatable and don’t always lead to blindness, they remain a major cause of sight loss in the UK.
Claim money back on your eye care
With a health cash plan, you can claim money back on your eye care, including your regular tests and any prescription glasses, contacts, sunglasses or swimming goggles you may need. You can also claim money back, up to set limits, on a range of other healthcare services, such as dental, prescriptions and therapy treatments.
Although there’s a financial cost to caring for your eyes, it’s worth it to reduce your chances of deteriorating eye health. You can get help with paying with a health cash plan, a plan that allows you to pay monthly for cover. You can claim money back, up to set limits, towards the cost of your essential healthcare. For more information about prices, levels and what you are covered for, visit our health cash plan page.