All this week marks National Eye Health Week. Our eyes are such an important part of our health and quality of life, however, many people do not care for their eyes correctly, which can cause many different eye issues or even vision loss. Follow these simple tips to maintain healthy eyes throughout your life.
- Eat Healthy & Exercise: Eating healthy and exercising is essential for your overall physical health and wellbeing. In relation to eye health, a balanced and nutritious diet, with regular exercise is essential. There are certain foods that should be definitely included in the diet for eye health, including antioxidant rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables, fruits and nuts or pulses.
- Know your Family History: Certain eye-related issues or diseases you can be predisposed to because of your family history. Keep a note on what eye-related diseases or issues your family members may have, to have early intervention if you begin to show signs or symptoms.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking can affect your eyes by developing serious eye conditions that can cause vision loss and blindness. The two most common eyesight issues that can result from smoking are cataracts and macular degeneration. (CDC, 2022)
- Eye Rests/ Exercises: Try to include more eye exercises during the day, especially if you work on computers. Some simple eye exercises you can do are blink more often, do the 20-20-20 rule, which includes taking a break every 20 minutes, focus on something about 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
- Wear Sunglasses/ Protective Eyewear: UV rays are damaging to our eyes, therefore, we should wear UV protection sunglasses when in the sun to prevent any damage. This can be internal to the structures within your eye and also external as the skin surrounding your eye including eyelids are vulnerable to developing skin cancer. In addition, sunglasses can help to take strain off the eyes whilst driving which would prevent headaches or migraines. Protective eyewear is needed in many jobs and industries. Over 90% of all eye injuries could be prevented using the correct protective eyewear. (AAO, 2017) There are different types of protective eyewear available for different jobs. Therefore, you need to ensure your eyewear is correct and fits correctly.
- EyeCare Routine: Any cleansers or creams that are placed on or around the eyes should be suitable to be used on your eyes. In addition, makeup brushes should be cleaned after each use and deep cleaned regularly. Any out of date creams, cleansers or lotions should be discarded. When cleaning contact lenses, ensure you use the contact lens solution and steps recommended by your optometrist.
- Keep Washing your Hands: It is extremely important to have clean hands before touching your eyes, especially when inserting or removing contact lenses. Whilst, clean hands will not necessarily mean that every bacteria or dirt has been removed before touching the eyes, it does reduce the risk of eye infections or transfer grit or dirt into the eyes.
- Regular visits with optometrist: Regular eye tests are essential to maintain healthy eyes. Around 75% of vision loss is avoidable with early detection and early intervention. (NCBI, 2022) It is recommended to have an eye test every two years, however, your optometrist will advise you if you should have eye tests more frequently.
With our eyesight, time taking to make simple changes can have major benefits for our eyesight. To protect your eyes for your lifetime, try to make simple changes today. Firstly, start by booking an eye examination and then incorporate some of the tips mentioned above based on your lifestyle and daily activities.