Nutritional and smoking advice not getting through to patients

Colourful fruit and vegetables, including apples, tomatoes and peppers

According to a new report patients aren't receiving the right advice from their hospital eye specialists, or the advice isn’t being presented in a way that patients remember.

Despite the evidence that stopping smoking, making changes to your diet and taking AREDS supplements can slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), this information is not being passed on effectively. 

The survey-based study took place in the outpatients’ Eye Department of a hospital in Yorkshire where 248 patients with wet AMD in one eye completed a survey about the advice they had been given.                                                                                                                     

Around three in five patients said they didn’t recall receiving any dietary advice from their hospital eyecare practitioner. Less than one in four said they had been recommended nutritional supplements – and even among those who did get a recommendation, many said that they didn’t understand how it would help their eyes. Just over half the current smokers said that they were advised to stop smoking.

However, when eye specialists were surveyed in 2013, around two in three claimed to provide diet advice to people with AMD, and more than nine out of ten said they recommended nutritional supplements.

The report, published in the Journal of Public Health, concluded that eye specialists need to review whether they are actually giving patients the information they need, and whether it is in a format  that they remember and find useful and understandable.