It’s National Eye Health Week and we thought we’d share some simple lifestyle tips to help keep your eyes and vision healthy.
Have regular check ups
It is generally recommended that adults have their eyes tested at least every two years, even if you do not have glasses.
Eye conditions such as open angle glaucoma, may not show noticeable symptoms so regular check-ups are vital to catch the condition early enough.
Even general health problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol and raised blood pressure can be first noticed in the eyes.
Cut the habit
It’s known that smoking is bad for your general health, but did you know it is directly linked to blindness? Smokers are 4x more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers. This is the leading cause of blindness in the UK.
It’s all relative!
It is important to be aware of eye conditions in your family. Conditions such as glaucoma or squints are hereditary. Hence it is important for your optometrist to be aware of your family history when you have your eyes examined.
Be cool in the sun
Protecting your eyes from UV light is very important, ensure you wear sunglasses on a sunny day or when you’re in high glare areas such as near snow or water.
Cumulative UV exposure can increase your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration as well as other conditions.
UV rays can penetrate through cloud cover, so even on cloudy days, UV protection should be worn.
Spend more time outdoors
There is emerging evidence that spending two hours or more, a day outdoors can reduce the risk of myopia, even if there is a family history of the condition. This is particularly advised for children.
Be screen smart
Although working at a computer won’t harm your eyes, sitting staring at a screen for long periods can cause ‘screen fatigue’ – sore, itchy or tired eyes; headaches; impaired colour perception and temporary blurring. So, it is important to take regular breaks to keep your eyes feeling fresh and bright.
In certain conditions glasses can help alleviate the above symptoms, your optometrist will be able to tell you this in your eye examination.
Protect your eyes
If you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home wear safety glasses or protective goggles to protect your eyes from injury.
When playing certain sports such as squash, protective eyewear should be worn to avoid injury.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
Protecting your eyes (and your general health!) starts with the food you eat.
Studies have shown that nutrients in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E may help prevent age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Foods containing eye-friendly nutrients include green leafy vegetables, oily fish such as salmon eggs, whole grains, chicken and citrus fruits.
Regular exercise is essential to stay fit and healthy and contributes to maintaining good eye health.