Belfast Telegraph

How can I look after my sight?

Fiona Caine is here to help if you have a relationship, sexual, marriage or family problem.

My mum has recently been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and I’ve read somewhere that it can be hereditary. She’s not blind yet but her sight is deteriorating fast.

She’s most worried, though, that she’s given it to her children and I would like to find out more about preventing it and about eye health in general.

I think we’re pretty healthy as a family but aside from eating properly and exercise, what else can we do?

I’d like to be able to reassure her that at least we’re doing all we can. KM

FIONA SAYS: CHECK OUT EYECARE TRUST’S RECOMMENDATIONS

The macula is part of the retina and it is responsible for what we see straight ahead, our ability to do detailed things such as reading and writing, and our appreciation of colours.

AMD is not an inherited condition, so please reassure your mother about this.

She may be confusing it with a type of macular degeneration that is inherited, called macular dystrophy.

Macular dystrophy can affect children and young people as well and it is important for them to have regular eye checks.

AMD tends to happen as people get older — it doesn't mean your mum will become blind and it isn't usually painful.

Most people with the condition will retain enough vision to get around and stay independent. Even so, it's the leading cause of sight loss in the UK, with more than 600,000 people affected.

The Eyecare Trust has a lot of advice and guidance about what to do to keep eyes as healthy as possible.

The very first thing on their list is not to smoke. Smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight in later life than non-smokers.

There are 10 key points on its website to maintain good eye hygiene. Good nutrition also plays a part and while you say you eat a healthy diet, it would be worthwhile checking out its recommendations.

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