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Lifestyle changes urged to maintain eye health

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Lifestyle changes urged to maintain eye health

Eye health experts have marked National Eye Health Week (18 - 24 September) with a stark warning that a million people in the UK are living with avoidable sight loss. This number is forecast to rise by a third by 2030 too, they warn, if action isn't taken.

David Cartwright, Chair of National Eye Health Week explains: "Eyesight declines as part of the natural aging process and some cases of sight loss are still sadly unavoidable but for many simply going for regular eyes tests and adopting a healthier lifestyle could prevent sight loss having a significant impact on our lives and help people to live well for longer."

Lifestyle can impact eye health regardless of genetic predisposition.Being physically active has been shown to reduce the risk of visual impairment by 58% versus somebody with a sedentary lifestyle; while ditching a diet high in meat - more than 3.5oz daily (the equivalent of two small sausages) - could help cut the risk of cataract.

Research published in the British Medical Journal reveals as many as one in five cases of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the UK's leading cause of blindness, are caused by tobacco consumption. Making smoking directly responsible for around 120,000 cases of AMD in Britain today.

Poor uptake of regular eye tests, once every two years unless advised otherwise by an optometrist, is also a big risk factor for unnecessary sight loss as the early detection and treatment of common eye conditions like glaucoma is essential to avoid irreversible sight loss.

The week-long campaign is promoting several lifestyle changes to help future eye health including quitting smoking;  eating more fish, nuts and oils; watching one's weight; keeping fit; wearing sunglasses and becoming 'screen smart'. 

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