Eye health tips for over-60s

content supplied by NHS Choices

Because our eyesight changes as we get older, almost all of us will need to wear glasses or contact lenses by the time we’re 65.

If you have regular eye tests, wear the right lenses and look after your eyes, there’s a better chance your sight will remain clear.

Have regular eye tests
What's free on the NHS?

Find out if you're entitled to free NHS eye tests or optical vouchers and how to claim for help.

An eye test is not just good for checking whether your glasses are up to date. It’s also a vital check on the health of your eyes. An eye test can pick up eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataracts, as well as general health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

The good news is that if you’re 60 or over, you can have a free NHS eye test every two years. You can have a free test every year if you’re 70 or over.

However, a 2011 survey from Age UK showed that nearly 2 million people over 60 did not take advantage of free eye tests in the previous two years.

Helena Herklots, services director at Age UK, said: "It’s worrying that such a high number of older people have not had a sight test recently. Going for regular sight tests and wearing the right glasses will not only improve balance, co-ordination and mobility but will help to maintain general eye health."

If you can’t leave your home because of illness or disability, you can have an NHS eye test at home. Contact your usual optician to find out if they can visit you at home. Otherwise, your local primary care trust (PCT) will have a list of opticians in your area that do home visits.

Find the address and phone number of your local PCT.

Find out more about eye tests.

Wear the right lenses

An eye test will establish whether you need a different prescription for your glasses or contact lenses.

It’s important to wear the correct prescription lenses. This will improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of accidents such as falls.

According to Age UK's research, poor vision was a factor in 270,000 falls in people over the age of 60 in the previous two years.

You may be entitled to help with the cost of NHS glasses or contact lenses, so ask your optician about this.

Find a local optician.

Read more about entitlement to free NHS eye tests or optical vouchers.

How to keep your eyes healthy

As well as having regular eye tests and wearing the correct glasses, you can do several things to keep your eyes as healthy as possible:

Eye problems as you get older

As you get older, you become more likely to get certain eye problems:

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