It’s National Eye Health Week from the 19 to 25 September, a campaign to promote looking after your eyes. More than half of all sight loss is due to preventable or treatable causes, so here are some tips on looking after your eyes.
Eye Health Week has lifestyle tips to help keep your eyes and vision healthy, and we’ve added some of our own!
Get your eyes tested every two years even if you think your vision is fine. Some eye conditions may not show any noticable symptoms so regular check-ups are vital. It’s recommended you have your eyes tested every two years and you may be entitled to a free eye test, it’s free for children under 16.
Protecting your eyes starts with the food you eat. Studies have shown that nutrients in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E in green leafy vegetables, oily fish such as salmon and citrus fruits prevent sight loss. Make sure that your alcohol intake is within recommended limits. Vision Matters have created A Feast for your Eyes Recipe Book with some delicious recipes to help you eat well.
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. It’s important to take regular breaks to keep your eyes feeling fresh and bright.
If you wear contact lenses make sure you look after them properly. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands before touching your contact lenses or your eyes. Only ever clean your contacts using the contact lens solution recommended by your practitioner. Never shower, sleep or swim with your contacts lenses in because this can put you at risk of developing a serious eye infection which could lead to blindness. Don’t wear them for longer than recommended by your practitioner or the manufacturer.
Regular exercise is essential to stay fit and healthy and contributes to maintaining good eye health. Don’t forget to wear protective eyewear when playing sports such as squash to protect your eyes from flying balls.
If you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home wear safety glasses or protective goggles to protect your eyes from injury.
Talk to your relatives about your their eye health as some eye conditions have genetic links such as glaucoma or squint. It is important that you share this information with your optometrist or eye health professional.
Protect your eyes when it is sunny or when you’re in high glare areas such as near snow or water. When choosing sunglasses make sure that they are safe as well as stylish! Look out for the CE, UV 400 or British Standard marks – this ensures they provide a safe level of protection from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays.
Another good reason to kick the habit, smoking is directly linked to blindness. Current smokers are up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration (the UK’s leading cause of blindness) compared to past smokers or non-smokers.
Always make sure you remove your make up before bed, be careful using remover and creams around your eyes. You also need to know when it’s time to bin your cosmetics, Good Housekeeping advises cosmetic expiration dates.
We hope you find this information useful – have a great eye health week!