In the UK, 2 million people are living with sight loss*, around 6 million people suffer from eye conditions and every day, 250 people lose their sight*. National Eye Health Week aims to promote the importance of eye health and encourage people to get their eyes tested more regularly.
A lot of people don’t think about protecting their eyes until something goes wrong. It’s always better to prevent than to cure, and with 50% of sight loss being avoidable, there's a lot we can do to keep our eyes healthy and functioning at their best. Here are some of our tips on how to keep your eyes in top working order.
What are the best ways to take care of your eyes?
1) Eat a balanced diet and exercise
We've always been told we should be getting at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. However, a study led by Imperial College London shows it would be much better to aim for ten portions of fruit and veg a day! Not possible for most people, of course, but having balance in your diet overall is good enough.
There are various foods to eat for good eye health, such as foods rich in omega-three fatty acids. There are supplements available as well such as Ocuvite Lutein and PreserVision Tablets, but there are no long term randomised clinical trials that show these have significant benefit. A healthy balanced diet is our main recommendation.
Exercising is beneficial for your overall health, including eye health. Engaging in moderate activity every week will reduce your risk of cataracts and glaucoma.
2) Limit your screen time
This isn’t always possible, especially when your job involves looking at a computer screen all day. To help prevent computer eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet into the distance for at least 20 seconds. This should give your eyes a break between long stretches of concentrating.
Also, try to blink more often to keep your eyes regularly hydrated. If your eyes are getting tired and dry, eye drops such as comfi Soothe Drops can offer immediate relief. If you have difficulty applying eye drops, you could try Optase Dry Eye Spray. This handy alternative will soothe dry eyes and moisturise eyelids.
Wearing blue light glasses can also be beneficial to reducing eye strain and fatigue and reduce the effects of dry eyes and macular degeneration.
3) Wear sunglasses
Even on cloudy days, ultraviolet light (UV) can harm your eyes. Make sure your sunglasses have 100% UVA and UVB protection. For added protection against rays and glare, you should also consider getting a pair of sunglasses that are polarised. We stock a wide range of designer sunglasses, all with UV protection. Choose from both high-end and more affordable sunglasses and stay stylish and protected.
You can add a sun tint to your prescription lenses if you wear glasses or opt for photochromic lenses. Both these options offer convenience and protect your eyes by providing you with 100% UVA and UVB protection.
4) Maintain Eyelid Hygiene
Maintaining the hygiene of your eyelids can prevent eye infections and help keep your eye health in check. If you have sensitive eyelids, we recommend using Blephasol Lotion to cleanse the eye area without irritating the eyes or skin. This gentle micellar solution will also soothe symptoms of blepharitis.
Using a ‘warm’ hot water bottle over the eye lids for 5 minutes each morning also helps melt oils plugging the glands.
Alternatively, you can use Optase Tea Tree Oil Lid Wipes or Blephaclean Eye Wipes for cleansing eyelids on the go.
5) Keep your hands clean
Every time you touch your eyes with unclean hands, you’re putting bacteria into the eye area, making it more likely that you’ll get an eye infection. Make sure your hands are clean and dry when putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Practising good hand hygiene is the number one way of avoiding eye infections when you wear contact lenses.
6) Quit smoking
Smoking can have a significant impact on your vision. There’s a strong link between smoking and sight loss. If you smoke, this is just one of the many reasons you should quit. Of course, smoking is bad for your overall health, but it can damage your eyes too. Smokers are much more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, a condition that causes loss of vision in the central part of the eye.
Vaping has become increasingly popular over the years as an alternative to smoking. Although we still don't have long-term studies about the potentially harmful effects of vaping, it could be hazardous to our eyes in the same way smoke is.
7) How often do you need to get your eyes checked?
A lot of people will say they don’t have the time to get their eyes checked. They might also think there’s no point because they aren’t in pain and can see well. Regular sight tests are essential and will help you spot any trouble before it can get worse. It's recommended you have your eyes tested every two years, and yearly if you are at risk of glaucoma. If anything changes with your eyes (or if you have a family history of eye conditions), you should consider getting a sight test sooner.
Your vision will be there for you your entire life if you take of your eye health. Following these simple steps will dramatically reduce your chance of developing eye infections and sight loss in the future.
* Source: Vision Matters
*Source: Royal National Institute of Blind People