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How are your New Year’s resolutions going?  We’re mid-February and many of you may have forgotten about them, but we’ve got a reason to motivate you to help keep on track: New Year’s resolutions can be great for your eye health. Our guide will help strengthen your resolve to help you stick to your guns.

Quit smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and for good reason. We’ve all been educated on the problems associated with smoking: cancer, lung disease, strokes and heart disease are all linked to smoking (and that’s just naming a few). But smoking is also linked to eye problems, including:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Uveitis
  • Dry eye
  • Diabetic retinopathy

If you want to quit smoking – whether it be as part of your New Year’s resolution or not – the best time to start is now. If you’re struggling to quit or if you’ve been smoke free since January 1st but are sorely tempted to have another puff, the NHS provide a free, online resource to help people quit smoking.

Cut back/stop drinking alcohol

Most of us enjoy a tipple, but a lot of us also enjoy too many of them – that’s why cutting down on alcohol is another top New year’s resolution.  Not only will it improve your overall health and help you to lose weight, it will also reduce the risk of complications to your eye health of drinking too much over a sustained period, including:

  • Damage to the optic nerve
  • Involuntary rapid eye movements
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Cataracts
  • Age-related macular degeneration

Cutting back on how much you drink can sometimes be difficult, especially if you feel pressured by peers or your lifestyle environment. If you need help to stop drinking alcohol, the NHS have an alcohol support service finder.

Aiming for and maintaining a healthy BMI

A very common New Year’s resolution which has benefits for the whole of your body, but did you know an  unhealthy body weight can also adversely affect your eye health?

  • Type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to obesity, can cause diabetic retinopathy – a disease caused by toxic levels of sugar in the blood which affect the cells in the eye. That means maintaining a healthy weight and ensuring you eat a balanced diet is important to avoid developing the condition and other diabetes-related eye conditions.
  • Studies in the US have shown that people with higher BMIs tend to have less pigment in the macular area of the eye. This pigment protects the retinal cells from breaking down, reducing the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). As a result, people who have higher BMIs are at a greater risk of AMD development.

Regular exercising

Exercising ties in nicely with maintaining a healthy BMI, helping to improve your general health and reduce the risks of developing type 2 diabetes. But there is growing scientific evidence that aerobic exercise is good for you eyes in another way; the important oxygen supply through the optic nerve can increase through aerobic exercise, this helps to regulate the pressure in your eye, controlling conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.  

If you’re struggling with your New Year’s resolution, use our guide to motivate you to get back on track. You only get one pair of eyes, so make sure you look after them!


For a state-of-the-art eye test, call 01732 875544


Kings Hill Opticians provide expert eye tests, eye care, glasses, lenses, spectacles and contact lenses

 for patients in Kent and Sussex,

 including Kings Hill, West Malling, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Paddock Wood.


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Kings Hill Opticians
2 Liberty Square
Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent
ME19 4AU

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Open until 7pm Weds & Thurs

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Our registered office is at 2 Liberty Square, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4AU.