National Eye Health Week - how to take care of your eyes

Medically reviewed by Khuram Sarwar, Dispensing Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss*, around 6 million people suffer from eye conditions and every day, 250 people lose their sight*. National Eye Health Awareness Week aims to promote the importance of eye health and encourage people to get their eyes tested more regularly.

Losing your sight isn’t inevitable, there are things you can do in your daily lives to significantly reduce your chance of sight loss. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; with 50% of sight loss being avoidable, there's a lot we can do to keep our eyes healthy. 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 get at least five portions of fruit or vegetables daily. However, a study led by Imperial College London shows that aiming for ten portions of fruit and veg a day would be better! This might be difficult for most people, 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-3 fatty acids. There are supplements available, but no long term randomised clinical trials show these have significant benefit. A healthy balanced diet is our main recommendation.

Exercising is great for your overall health, including your eye health. Moderate activity 1 – 2 times a week will reduce your risk of cataracts and glaucoma.

Healthy Food Strip

2) Limit your screen time

Reducing your screen time might seem impossible, 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 concentration.

Also, try to blink more often to keep your eyes hydrated. If your eyes are getting tired and dry, you could try eye care products like eye drops. Try our comfi Soothe Drops; it can offer immediate relief to tired and dry eyes. 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 in reducing eye strain and fatigue, reducing the effects of dry eyes and macular degeneration.

Mobile Phone Strip

3) Wear sunglasses

Even on cloudy days, ultraviolet light (UV) can harm your eyes, so it’s important to take sunglasses with you everywhere. Make sure your sunglasses have 100% UVA and UVB protection. Luckily, all the sunglasses at Feel Good Contacts provide this protection. For added protection against glare, you should consider getting a pair of polarised sunglasses.

If you want clear vision as well as sun protection, why not try prescription sunglasses? You can add a sun tint to your prescription glasses at the checkout to create prescription sunglasses. You could also opt for photochromic lenses, allowing your lenses to remain clear indoors and darken when exposed to UV light. 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 eyelids 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?

You shouldn’t wait until something goes wrong before getting your eyes tested. Regular sight tests are essential and will help you spot any trouble before it can get worse. The NHS recommends getting 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 care of your eye health. Following these simple steps will dramatically reduce your chance of developing eye infections and sight loss as well as keep your eyes healthy.

* Source: Vision Matters
*Source: Royal National Institute of Blind People

Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace medical care or an in-person check-up. Please check with an eyecare professional before purchasing any products or remedies. For information on our article review process, please refer to our Editorial Policy.

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