Our 5 top tips for healthy eyes
When you think about your overall health, do you consider your eye health as well? Most people take eyesight for granted, only worrying about it when a problem crops up. However, paying attention to your eye health can slow down or even prevent eye ailments developing. Read on for five things you can start doing straight away.
1. Protect your eyes
Your eyes are vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV rays. Continuous exposure to bright light and sunlight can damage the eye’s natural lens, so make sure you wear sunglasses every time you step out in the sun. It is also hugely beneficial to wear a brimmed or peaked hat.
All sunglasses sold legally (i.e. non-counterfeit) are CE-marked. You should choose a pair that blocks at least 99% of UVB rays and at least 95% of UVA rays. Sunglasses labelled as ‘cosmetic’ will not provide sufficient eye protection, so steer clear of them. They have no UV protection, making them worse for your eyes than wearing no sunglasses at all. This is because the tint allows the pupil of your eye to open larger, letting more harmful rays in.
Contact lenses with built-in UV filters are also available, which can block up to 99% UVB and 90% UVA depending on the lens type.
It’s not just the sun that can harm your eyes; the dry air in your home or office can also lead to eye dryness and irritation. Using a humidifier helps in controlling air quality indoors and prescription eye drops can alleviate dry eye syndrome. Eye sprays and lid hygiene processes are also available.
2. Eat right
The food you eat affects your health, and this includes your eye health as well. Beta-carotene (a type of Vitamin A), which is found in carrots and other orange-coloured fruits and vegetables, is essential in maintaining your eye health.
Eating leafy greens such as kale, spinach and romaine lettuce can lower the risk of age-related changes in the eyes such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), since they are high in lutein and zeaxanthin. Egg yolks are also high in these two nutrients.
Early research shows that vitamin C from citrus fruits (oranges, limes, lemons) and berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) and Vitamin E (found in almonds) may help prevent the development of cataracts. Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, sardines and halibut can all slow down macular degeneration and keep the tears healthy and plentiful.
3. Take a break
If you habitually work long hours in front of your computer screen, you must guard against Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). This can manifest as several eye-related problems such as eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes, double or blurred vision, vertigo etc.
To protect yourself and your eyes, take frequent breaks. The 20-20-20-20 rule is a good one to follow – every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at an object 20 feet away. Position your monitor at least 20 inches from your eyes and place an anti-glare screen on top of it. You should also try to blink 20 times to prevent your eyes getting dry when staring at the PC screen. If you wear prescription glasses, you could also choose to have anti-reflective and blue-protect coatings.
4. Cut down the cigarettes
Smoking accelerates the formation of cataracts, increases the risk of blood pressure and diabetes and increases the risk of macular degeneration later in life. Kicking the habit can really save your eyes (not to mention your life).
5. Book an eye exam
Getting your eyes tested regularly can help in detecting any eye conditions quickly. We also recommend an OCT scan as part of your regular eye exam. An Optical Coherence Tomography scan works like an ultrasound for the eye; it goes well beyond the retinal surface and brings up images of the underlying tissue. This can help us detect early signs of AMD, Glaucoma, and even diabetes (by detecting Diabetic Retinopathy). Some of these abnormalities can be spotted up to 5 years earlier compared to traditional, less extensive eye tests.
If you would like to experience an OCT scan for yourself, book an Ultimate Eye Examination with Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care today. If you require corrective lenses, you can also choose from our wide range of designer glasses, or go for contact lenses with UV filters. We also have a huge range of designer sunglasses available.