Your life and eyes 5 min read

What to do if your eyesight is getting worse

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If you notice your eyesight is getting worse, the most important thing to do is visit your local optician for an eye examination. Your optician will be able to identify if there are any underlying issues that are causing your eyesight to worsen.

Changes in your vision can be due to numerous factors. There has even been discussion over whether wearing glasses can actually make your eyesight worse. If you suffer from a refractive error such as short-sightedness (myopia), it will progress regardless of whether you wear glasses or not.

Factors that can contribute to worsening eyesight

With that in mind, we take a better look at some of the reasons why your eyesight could be getting worse. This can include age, genetics, lifestyle, eye conditions and harmful light.

Age

As you get older, particularly around the age of 40-50, your eyesight ability may decline for close-up tasks such as reading. This is because the crystalline lens in your eye becomes less flexible, which makes it harder to focus on close-up objects. This is known as presbyopia and will affect all of us at some stage in our lives.

Woman struggling to read text on phone due to presbyopia

This can be surprising to some, especially if you have never experienced vision problems before. However, it is very easy to correct simply by wearing the right lenses.

You might also experience an eye condition known as cataracts. Cataracts gradually make your eye cloudy so it loses transparency, resulting in visual impairment, it’s very common and the procedure is one of the most common surgeries in the UK. Another eye condition that may affect you around this age is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is one of the leading causes of vision loss, and while the causes are unknown, it is closely linked to age.

Genetics

There are many genetic reasons why your eyesight might begin to get worse. Many eye diseases are hereditary, such as glaucoma and even myopia. It has been shown that if a parent has myopia, the child has an increased risk.

It is important to understand your family’s health history and look out for any signs that could put you at risk of developing an eye condition. If this is the case, it is recommended that you visit an optician more frequently.

Studies show that some ethnic groups can be more at risk than others. For example, those of African or Afro-Caribbean descent are more at risk of developing chronic open-angle glaucoma.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on your overall health, including your vision. Diet, smoking and excessive alcohol can all make a difference to your eyesight in the long run.

Long-term effects of consuming too much alcohol can increase your risk of eye disease, including AMD and cataracts. A balanced diet is also key, as vitamins C and E along with lutein and omega-3 can all contribute to healthy vision.

It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle to prolong healthy eyes and overall wellbeing.

Foods that can help improve your eyesight

Eye conditions

Your eyesight could be getting worse because you have an uncorrected refractive error. If you begin to struggle to see far away or close up, then you should visit your optician for an eye examination. Your optician is able to diagnose a multitude of vision problems and offer advice on how to manage them.

Wearing glasses will not make your eyesight worse. Refractive errors will progress whether you wear them or not because it is a problem with your eye itself. If you wear the wrong prescription, it could cause eye strain but it shouldn’t have an impact on your vision. Wearing lenses with an up to date prescription will ensure visual comfort and the best correction.

It is important to keep your prescription up to date and visit your optician if you think your vision has changed.

Temporary factors

Pregnancy can bring lots of changes to your body including your eyesight. Hormones during pregnancy can affect your eyesight and vision quality. These changes are normally temporary but you should still get them checked by an optician if you experience them.

Woman experiencing dry eyes due to hormone changes during pregnancy

Stress can also have a negative effect on your eyesight by inducing eyestrain, light sensitivity, dry or even watery eyes. By reducing your stress levels you can lower the effects, this may sound easier said than done so it’s important to figure out when you are stressed and what you can do to feel better.

Harmful light

In large doses, UV light can be detrimental to your eyesight. Overexposure to UV is one of the leading causes of conditions like cataracts and photokeratitis. With that in mind, it’s important to protect your eyes when out in the sun.

You should always wear sunglasses in the sun, or stay out of direct sunlight when it’s at its strongest. You can also protect your eyes by wearing clear lenses with built-in UV protection. These are simple protective measures that can have a huge positive impact on your eye health.

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