Your eyesight and your eye health is important, yet most of us are guilty of taking it for granted. There are however, some very proactive ways to help your eyes perform at their best. Here are our top 7:
1. Get them checked
Eye tests are important as they can detect any underlying health problems, even if you aren’t experiencing any issues as diseases such as glaucoma have no symptoms.
Therefore periodic eye tests are recommended every 2 years for those without pre-existing eye health concerns.
It’s good to bear in mind however that factors such as age can have an impact with those over 40 recommended to have a check-up more often so if in doubt, speak to a professional.
2. History Matters
Certain diseases or conditions are hereditary so it is imperative to find out from family members because you may be at a higher risk of developing a particular disease or condition.
Your personal history also matters when getting your eyes checked out by the doctor/optician. A broad range of on the face of it, unconnected health issues such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer and high blood pressure can all have a damaging effect upon your sight.
So be sure to tell your doctor or optician everything, no matter how unrelated it may seem.
3. Nutrition is key
What you eat can play a big part in the health of your eyes. Vitamins A, B2 and zinc all help to maintain normal vision so be sure to include some of the following foods in your diet:
- Oranges and other citrus fruits
- Leafy greens such as spinach and kale
- Oily fish, including salmon and tuna
On the subject of food, eating a generally healthy diet is also important in maintaining eye health as poor diets and obesity can cause type 2 diabetes which has been shown to cause blindness in adults.
4. It’s time to stop
If you smoke then you’re probably tired of being told you should stop but did you know it can have a dramatic effect on your sight?
Studies have shown that those who smoke are more susceptible to developing age related macular degeneration and cataract, both of which can cause blindness.
In addition, smoking can also damage your retina or lead to loss of vision due to creating a build-up of plaque in your bloodstream which in turn weakens arteries.
On a positive note however, the damage is reversible so it is never too late to stop smoking…persistence is the key!
5. Take a break
Most people have heard the popular myth that sitting too close to the television will make your eyes go square but sitting in front of a screen all day can actually have a negative impact.
This can manifest its self in the form of eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes or blurry vision so staring at a screen for long periods of time is not recommended.
Taking regular breaks from looking at a screen is the main recommendation with many professionals suggesting the 20-20-20 rule.
This rule states that for every 20 minutes that you’re working in front of a screen, you should look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
There are though, additional ways to protect your eyes:
- Remembering to blink is important as people who stare at a screen all day often forget to do so which causes eyes fatigue.
- Use an anti-glare screen to avoid glare from windows and lights.
- Wear glasses if prescribed and go for check-ups to ensure they are the correct strength.
6. In moderation
‘In moderation’ is the buzz word nowadays and even more so when it comes to alcohol as drinking to excess can have a life changing impact on your eyes.
Regularly drinking large volumes of alcohol can cause a multitude of problems:
- The weakening of the eye muscle co-ordination causing double vision.
- Decreases your pupil reaction times leading to an impairment of vision
- Bloodshot eyes
- The involuntary movement of your eye, referred to as rapid eye movement
Pacing yourself, not drinking on an empty stomach and only drinking occasionally can all help protect your eye health.
7. Check your make up
This doesn’t obviously apply to everyone but using old make up is not a good idea.
Liquid or cream based eye makeup can foster the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow which can in turn cause infections.
It is therefore advised that makeup older than 3 months is disposed of and that if you do contract an infection, see your doctor immediately. Finally, never share cosmetics.
This information is for guidance only and must not substitute professional medical advice. If you are concerned, please consult your pharmacist or GP.