A large group of people with the focus on a man holding a cane. He is wearing sunglasses.

Looking after your vision

It is important to avoid harming your vision, particularly if you have an inherited sight loss condition.

A healthy lifestyle and diet is beneficial, as is avoiding smoking. Regular visits to your optician or consultant, even after diagnosis, are very important - health professionals will monitor your condition and general eye health.


There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about the benefits of nutrition on inherited sight loss. You should always speak to your consultant before taking supplements or changing your diet significantly.

General Diet

A healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables is beneficial to the retina, as well as for general health. Aim to eat plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli, as well as red, blue and black fruits such as berries. Include two portions of fish in your diet each week if possible.

Vitamins A and E

The first clinical trial regarding the effects of vitamins A and E on retinitis pigmentosa was undertaken in the USA and completed in 1993. It demonstrated a small beneficial effect on visual function of Vitamin A and a damaging effect of Vitamin E.

The findings of this trial have been increasingly questioned over time by various authorities. The documented beneficial effect was seen only on electrophysiological testing and the effect was small. No beneficial effect was found on visual acuity or visual field loss. This form of treatment has not gained widespread acceptance.

It is also important to note that vitamin A can be harmful in certain inherited retinal conditions, including Stargardt disease, cone-rod dystrophy, Best disease, and other types of macular dystrophy.

Individuals who wish to consider taking vitamin supplements should discuss this with their ophthalmologist in the first instance. High dose vitamin A is not recommended for those under age 18 years. Routine monitoring of blood Vitamin A concentration and liver function has been recommended for any individual on Vitamin A therapy. Women of childbearing age need to be cautioned about potential harmful effects of high-dose Vitamin A on the unborn child. Because Vitamin E may adversely affect the course of the condition retinitis pigmentosa, it is recommended that individuals with this condition avoid high-dose supplements.

A large group of people with the focus on a man holding a cane. He is wearing sunglasses.

Ultraviolet and blue light protection

There is evidence from animal studies that excessive exposure to bright sunlight may be harmful to the retina, especially if the retina is already damaged.

It is recommended that high quality UV-A and UV-B blocking sunglasses are worn, and in bright sunlight it may also be sensible to wear a hat with a broad brim. Sunglasses should have a CE European standard mark or comply with British Standard ISO 12312-1.

Blue light emitted from mobile phones, tablets and computer monitors may also be damaging. Check that your device has blue light protection enabled, or use a blue light filter.

A close up of a cigarette held by a woman. Her face is in a blurred backgroundSmoking

Smoking tobacco is harmful to the retina. It is therefore recommended that those with inherited sight loss avoid smoking and also avoid environments in which they could be exposed to cigarette smoke. Evidence suggests that smoking, including passive smoking, can lead to faster deterioration in pre-existing eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa, and can also increase the risk of developing cataracts, which can further impede vision.

Mortar and pestle in a cream colour sitting on top of a brown surfaceComplementary therapies

People with inherited sight loss often state that the quality of their vision is affected by stress. Complementary therapies such as meditation, massage, yoga, acupuncture or aromatherapy may be helpful in relieving stress and improving general wellbeing. There is no robust evidence that they can change the progression of retinal deterioration.

We recommend you speak with your ophthalmologist or GP before undertaking significant lifestyle or diet changes, taking any form of supplement or undergoing any kind of complementary therapy.