Whilst we can help those who already have a sight impairment, prevention is better than cure so please take care of your eyes by :-

Having a Good Diet

vegetablesGood nutrition is very important for both your general and eye health. A good diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and oily fish, may protect against eye diseases such as Macular Degeneration and Cataracts. Some vitamins supplements may also help to improve eye health, and there are now many different such products on the market. Your pharmacist, optician or health food shop could advise you about what is available.

Not Smoking

No smokingSmoking doubles your chances of sight loss. Tobacco chemicals damage the vessels behind your eyes and increases your risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) – the UK’s leading cause of sight loss. Smoking is also associated with other eye diseases, including Cataracts. The good news is that if you stop smoking, the risk of losing your sight decreases over time. So, the message is simple – do not take up smoking and if you do smoke, stop!

 Having Regular Eye Tests

eyechartA regular eye test is a vital health check – it can help detect eye diseases before you notice any effect on your sight. Early treatment can often prevent your sight from getting worse. It may also help to detect other health issues such as high blood pressure, and diabetes. It is recommended that you have an eye test at least once every two years.

NHS sight tests are available free to people under 16 or under 19 if in full time education, and also to people over 60. Anyone on benefits and a low income are also eligible. Glaucoma sufferers and their blood relatives over 40, diabetics, and people who are registered as Severely Sight Impaired (Blind) or Sight Impaired (Partially Sighted), also qualify.

If you are housebound, you can find out about having your eyes tested at home by contacting your local Optometric Council, who will have details of Optometrists providing this service.

 Wearing Good Quality Sunglasses

sunglassesMake sure your sunglasses are marked with either the CE mark, which means they meet European standards re UV (Ultra Violet) protection, or the British Standard BSEN 1836:1997.


Unfortunately sight problems can develop in spite of preventative care and this is where early diagnosis is key. If you find it harder to focus OR your vision is becoming blurred OR you tend to have headaches when reading OR using your computer etc. don’t wait for the next routine eye test, see your optician or attend the hospital eye clinic right away.

Hospital EYE Card

hospital EYE card

Sight Action (Havering) has been successful in introducing a special “EYE Card” to be used by vision impaired patients at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust hospitals. It is bright yellow, so is easy to see, and is intended to alert staff that a patient has poor, or no vision, and may therefore require extra help eg reading menus, finding the toilet etc. This will hopefully ensure that in-patients who are vision impaired have a less stressful experience during their stay in hospital.

Every ward in the Trust has a supply, and the cards are also available from the Sight Support volunteers in the Eye Clinic at Queen’s Hospital, and from the various voluntary groups for visual impairment in Havering.

It is hoped that if someone with a vision impairment is admitted to the hospital, the card will automatically be used, but we would recommend that if it is not, vision impaired patients or their carers request that it is.