Help and frequently asked questions

What happens if my eyesight gets worse?


Vision can change a lot throughout one person's lifetime. You may have had good vision as a child, but problems start occurring as you grow older. There are also a variety of other factors that can lead to a decline in your vision.Here are some of the facts you need to know about vision problems and worsening eyesight.

Why is my eyesight getting worse?

Eyesight can change for a lot of reasons, whether due to the natural ageing process or an injury or trauma to the eye area causing further problems. However, if you notice your vision has changed quite suddenly it's always best to see an eye specialist immediately. A change in eyesight can be caused by eye diseases, ageing, injury, or even other underlying medical conditions such as diabetes. You may need vision correction to help you see more clearly or further treatment to address the root cause, so it's important to see an optometrist for more information if you notice gradual or slight changes in your eyesight. Some of the most common causes include presbyopia, where it becomes more difficult to see objects and details up close. This is caused by ageing. Cataracts (a cloudiness of the lens in the eye) can also cause issues with glare sensitivity, poor night vision and 'halos' appearing around lights and is another age-related condition. Glaucoma is a result of increased pressure build-up in the eyes and can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated. Any of these conditions and others such as fatigue or medication side-effects can all cause changes in vision whether sudden or gradual.

I have AMD, what can I do to prevent worsening eyesight?

Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is a common cause of central vision problems. If you have dry AMD (where certain cells in the macula at the back of the eye start to degenerate and get thinner) you can try to eat a diet full of fruits and green leafy vegetables, as these are thought to have nutrients such as carotenoids that support eye health. You should also take care to protect your eyes as much as you can when in sunlight, by using sunglasses and a hat to shade your face.

Prematurity and eyesight

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a condition usually affecting babies who are born prematurely before 31 weeks of gestation. The baby's weight is also a risk factor. It is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina (the section at the back of the eye that detects light).ROP can cause potential blindness, ranging from mildly abnormal blood vessel growth to a partially or completely detached retina, which has a severe impact on vision. It can lead to vision loss during childhood and permanent vision impairment or even loss later in life, so it's important to see an eye specialist for treatment immediately.

Can I stop eyesight from getting worse?

Some people believe that a certain diet coupled with targeted eye exercises can help improve eyesight naturally. However, there is no concrete evidence supporting this and it's best to see your optometrist regularly to identify and treat any problems early on, whether through vision correction, surgery or medication.

Good and bad eyesight

Using the terms good and bad to describe eyesight are misleading, because vision correction is more focused on abnormal versus normal vision and stronger or weaker prescriptions. If you need glasses or contact lenses to see that does not mean your eyes are 'bad', just that they need a stronger level of correction to aid you to see clearly.To find out your level of visual acuity (meaning the sharpness or clearness of vision), you will need to see an optometrist for an eye test. This will determine the level of vision correction needed (if any) in each eye. Partial sight means you have a visual impairment of some kind. This will usually mean you have a visual acuity score ranging from 3/60 to 6/60 with a full field or up to 6/24 with a moderate restriction of your visual field. This will be analysed during your eye test.

Miscellaneous issues with worsening eyesight

If you used to have no vision problems but now deal with weaker distance vision, it's important to see your optometrist for an eye test. This could be an indication of myopia or shortsightedness, which occurs when the eyeball is too large and light has trouble focusing accurately on the retina at the back of your eye.Sometimes you may need to use a visual display unit (VDU) regularly. If you notice your vision getting worse since looking at the unit or one eye turning inwards, you need to see your optometrist for a full eye examination. Your prescription may have changed, causing you to need stronger vision correction. If you only notice vision problems in one eye, this could be an indicator of amblyopia or lazy eye, which occurs when one eye doesn't develop as much as the other. There could also be another underlying cause, so it's best to see your optometrist for more information.