Like the rest of your body, it’s important to invest a little time and energy into the health of your eyes. Fortunately, maintaining eye health isn’t complicated, and there are a number of simple adjustments you can make to your routine and lifestyle to preserve the health of your eyes.
Read on below for some simple rules to follow to look after your eye health.
Your diet and eye health
A good diet can contribute to the health of your eyes, and making sure you consume a range of vitamins and minerals is key.
Colour is important. The ‘carrots help you see in the dark’ theory isn’t quite true, but carrots and other orange foods contain beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that helps the eye to function properly. Leafy greens are also brilliant for eye health, as they’re full of antioxidants that lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Try to ensure you regularly eat oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, which contain omega 3 fatty acids that help the retina, and eggs, which contain zinc and vitamin A. You can boost your diet further by snacking on nutrient-rich almonds and berries too.
Smoking and eye health
The risks of smoking are well documented, but did you know that it can also cause damage to your eyes? Smoking causes an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage, which over time can lead to blindness. The good news is, this can be avoided by quitting smoking – and if you’re a non-smoker, don’t take it up.
Have regular eye tests
If you’re taking steps to look after your eye health, one of the simplest things you can do is to have regular eye tests. Eye tests can identify problems with your vision, eye health and health as a whole, and they can even help with diagnosing problems with blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. It’s recommended that you have an eye test once every two years, but according to the Vision of Britain report published by Optegra and Boots, only 38% of adults do this.
In fact, the report also found that one in ten people discover they need glasses or treatment when they didn’t even think there was a problem, whilst 15% of patients are diagnosed with an eye condition when it’s already too late for treatment to work. This can be prevented with regular eye tests. For more information, take a look at our blog post on how often you should have an eye test.
Protect your eyes from the sun
There are a number of external factors that can influence the health of your eyes – and extensive exposure to the sun’s rays can cause damage. The RNIB has reported that UVA and UVB rays in sunlight can be a factor in a number of eye diseases, such as cataracts, for example. This risk can be minimised by having UV filters in glasses (ask your optometrist if you’re not sure) and wearing sunglasses marked with ‘CE’, which shows they meet the EU standard for protection.
Take a screen break
One of the biggest strains on our eyes is caused by the large amount of time we spend using screens, including tablets, laptops, smartphones and television. According to the Vision of Britain report, on average British adults spend over four and half hours on computers, three hours on smartphones and an hour and three quarters on tablets a day.
Optometrists have been noticing an increase in eye strain, with 57% believing this increase has been caused by advances in technology. The best way to remedy this is to take a break from your screens regularly, following the 20-20-20 rule for guidance: look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Taking a break from technology is also a great approach, so if you use computers for work, make sure you take a break from them when you’re at home. For more guidance, take a look at our blog on how to avoid eye strain from technology.
Concerned about your eye health?
If you have concerns about your eye health, our team of specialists are on hand to diagnose the problem and help you find the solution that’s right for you. You can find out more at one of our free open evenings, where you can hear from our experts and ask any questions you might have, or book a free one-to-one consultation to get diagnostic tests to find out which treatment is best for your needs.