We all know prevention is better than cure, so here are the top ten tips from the optometrists at Monnow Eyecare to keep your vision healthy.
Regular exercise helps maintain good eye health. Don’t forget to wear protective eyewear when playing sports such as squash to protect your eyes from flying balls. Cyclists should also wear any eyewear prescribed for driving when riding on roads.
Eat well and drink sensibly
Studies have shown that nutrients rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E may help prevent age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Eat green leafy vegetables, oily fish such as salmon, eggs, whole grains, chicken and citrus fruits regularly. Keep your alcohol intake within the guidelines of no more than 14 units a week and spread units evenly over three or more days.
Quit the smoking habit
Smokers, protecting your eyesight is another good reason to kick the habit. Smoking is directly linked to blindness as smokers are up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration (the UK’s leading cause of blindness).
Spend time outdoors
Spending time outdoors can reduce the risk of myopia, even if there is a family history of the condition, so aim to get out in the fresh air every day.
Be screen smart
Although computer work won’t harm your eyes, sitting staring at any screen for long periods can cause ‘screen fatigue’ – sore, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, impaired colour perception or temporary blurring. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes and take regular breaks to keep your eyes feeling fresh.
Protect your eyes if necessary
If you work with hazardous or airborne materials wear safety glasses or protective goggles to protect your eyes from injury.
Be cool in the sun
Protect your eyes when it’s sunny or when you’re in high glare areas near snow or water. Cumulative UV exposure increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Look out for the CE, UV 400 or British Standard marks when buying sunglasses because they provide protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
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. Never shower, sleep or swim with your lenses in because this risks developing a serious eye infection which may lead to sight loss. Your optician will recommend the length of time you can safely wear lenses each day and tell you which cleaning solutions are safest for you.
It’s all relative
Talk to your relatives about their eye health as some eye conditions, such as glaucoma or squint, have genetic links. It’s important that you share this information with your optometrist.
Regular check ups
Get your eyes tested every two years even if you think your vision is fine. Checks-ups are vital because some eye conditions, for example open angle glaucoma, may not show noticeable symptoms. Simply call Monnow Eyecare on 01600 715 299 to arrange a convenient time for you.