Preventable sight loss


More than two million people are estimated to be living with sight loss in the UK today. This sight loss is severe enough to have a significant impact on daily lives. At least half of all cases of sight loss in the UK are avoidable.

The best ways to keep your eyes healthy are:

  • Regular eye tests
  • Quit smoking if you smoke
  • A healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Have an active lifestyle
  • Wear sunglasses, even in cloudy weather. Look for sunglasses with the british standards kitemark or CE mark. /li>
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Not wearing glasses when needed or wearing the wrong glasses (including non-prescription, off the shelf glasses) is a leading cause of preventable sight loss – cheap glasses may cost you your sight


All children need regular eye tests. 80 per cent of all learning in the classroom is visual. If children can’t see well, they can’t learn well. Children are entitled to free NHS eye tests and vouchers towards the cost of glasses if needed. Most wakefield opticians will provide children with free glasses even if the cost exceeds the cost of their voucher - ask your optician for advice before booking an eye test.

Your school nursing service will give advice periodically to remind you to take your child for an eye test. It’s never too early for your child to have an eye test, but it could be too late. If you are concerned - speak to your optician.


Everyone needs regular eye tests. Do you use display screen equipment (DSE) for work? The law states employers must arrange an eye test for DSE users if they ask for one and provide glasses if an employee needs them only for DSE use. While using display screen equipment at work won’t cause permanent damage to your eyes, looking at screens for long spells without regular breaks can cause:

  • Tired eyes
  • Discomfort
  • Temporary short-sightedness
  • Headaches

For more information visit the Health and Safety Executive website

1 in 5 adults don’t bother having an eye test

We carried out a survey to find out what local people know about eye health. The following top three reasons for not having regular eye tests came from the results of that survey:

My vision is fine

Good vision does not indicate healthy eyes. Everyone should have their eyes checked regularly, even if there is no change in vision. An eye test can pick up the first signs of an eye condition before you notice any changes in vision, leading to you getting treatment quickly which could save your sight.

Too expensive

You may be entitled to free eye tests and a voucher towards the cost of glasses.

Speak to your optician if you are worried about the cost. Most offer budget glasses. There are lots of opticians in the Wakefield district. Choose one which suits your needs. You can find a list of them on the NHS website.

Not a priority

Sight loss can affect you whatever your age or circumstances. Every day 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK. One in five people will start to live with sight loss in their lifetime.

If a family member has glaucoma, diabetes or macular degeneration, you may be more at risk - let your optician know. Eyesight naturally changes as we age. By the age of 65, almost DIY, gardening and sports being just three examples.

Older people

It’s important for older people to have regular eye tests. Over 60’s are entitled to free nhs eye tests, usually every two years but they can be more often if your optician recommends it. An optician can detect many general health concerns as well as eye diseases during an eye examination, even before you have noticed any symptoms - diabetes, glaucoma and high blood pressure for example. Early detection and treatment is vital and even help to save your sight.

Falls poor vision is linked to falls. Wearing the wrong glasses or not wearing glasses when you really need to can damage your eyes and increase the risk of falling.

Minor eye conditions service

If you notice a sudden change in vision, flashes and floaters, soreness or something in your eye, there are a number of opticians in the district who offer a free minor eye condition service. It’s important to get your eyes checked as quickly as possible. An early diagnosis could save your sight.

Home visits

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 for advice.


DVLA guidelines say you must be able to read number plates from 20 metres away. You should tell the dvla if you have any problems with your eyesight or any conditions that could affect it, such as glaucoma. This doesn't include short or long sightedness, or colour blindness. See for more on driving eyesight rules. Make sure you have regular eye tests if you need glasses to drive safely. If you drive at night, the optician can make sure your glasses are suitable for driving at night.

Useful information

Contact us

Public Health

Wakefield Council
Wakefield One
PO Box 700

0345 8 506 506