Approximately half a million Canadians currently live with significant vision loss that impacts their quality of life — a figure that’s poised to increase by nearly 30 percent over the next decade.

Every 10 minutes, someone in Canada is told ‘you are losing your vision’.

1 – Have your eyes checked regularly.

Serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be present without any symptoms. Early detection is key to ensure prompt diagnosis and early treatment, so visit your eye care professional. If you have diabetes, it’s critical to see your eye doctor regularly for a complete exam. Never ignore changes in your vision.

2 – Quit smoking.

People who smoke are up to four times more likely to develop AMD, the leading cause of vision loss in people over 50 in Canada.

3 – Eat healthy and get fit.

Diets high in fats and low in nutrients heighten the risk of developing AMD. Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, fresh fruit and green, leafy vegetables. Try to keep active to lose excess weight.

4 – Protect your eyes from sunlight.

Even in the winter, exposure to sunlight is associated with a higher risk of developing AMD and cataracts. When you hit the slopes or go for that winter walk, choose sunglasses that provide at least 99 percent ultraviolet (UV) protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

5 – Prevent diabetes and/or manage your diabetes.

Most people with diabetes are at a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy (one of the major eye diseases causing vision loss) and other vision problems. If you have diabetes, it’s important to control your blood pressure, sugar and lipid (fat) levels to lower your risk of diabetic retinopathy.