10 ways to improve your eye health
19 May 2022
Celebrating Healthy Vision Month
May is Healthy Vision Month. Although every day is a good day to protect your eye health, it’s also great to have a time to shine a spotlight on it, and specifically highlight steps we can take to promote healthy eyes and good vision. We’re here today with our top 10 tips for ways to improve your eye health. Most of these are very easy lifestyle changes you can make which, combined with each other over a period of time, will have countless positive impacts for your eyes.
1. Wear UV blocking sunglasses
The first tip, which happens to be very relevant as we start to move into warmer weather, is to invest in some good UV blocking sunglasses. UV rays from the sun can have countless impacts on your eyes, causing early onset of cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as increasing your chances of skin cancer, as the skin around your eyes (like your eyelids) is particularly delicate. You can read more about the effects of the sun on your eye health here.
2. Eat a healthy diet
We all know that eating well is important for maintaining a healthy weight, but did you know that what you eat actually benefits your eye health to different degrees too? Vitamin C has been proven to lower your risk of developing cataracts. Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, as well as other foods such as strawberries and bell peppers, contain vitamin C. The antioxidants are good for the blood vessels in your eyes, and also reduce the likelihood of you developing macular degeneration. Read our blog post for further information on the top 10 foods to boost your eye health.
3. Stay well hydrated
We all know we should be drinking two litres a day to stay well hydrated, and without sufficient liquids, all of our organs suffer. Our eyes are no exception – in fact, not drinking enough is one of the leading contributors to dry eye syndrome. This is because, in a bid to conserve what little fluid has been consumed, the body stops producing enough tears to lubricate the eyes properly. This can lead to dry, itchy eyes and eye strain. We’ve covered the importance of hydration on our blog before – check out the post here to learn more.
4. Practice good contact lens hygiene
Did you know that you are 37 times more likely to go blind from a contact lens infection, than you are to suffer vision loss due to laser surgery complications? Plenty of Optimax patients actually say that irritation and infections from contacts are what finally pushed them to book in for treatment with us. A particularly devastating eye infection that affects contact lens wearers is Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a parasitic infection that results in 20% of those infected needing a corneal transplant. You can read more about how to practice good contact lens hygiene to avoid this and other eye infections here.
5. Minimise screen time
In today’s day and age, it’s no surprise that many of us are reaching 12+ hours of screen time each day. This could be from a combination of working on computers, checking our phones for Google Maps, or watching a film during an evening at home. Lots of people experience eye strain as a result of this, which can come with blurry vision, dry eyes and redness. As well as cutting back on screen time, you should also practice the 20-20-20 rule. This is where every 20 minutes, you look away from your screen at something 20 feet away, and focus on it for 20 seconds, to give your eyes a break from the screen. Read more about how to protect your eyes from screens at work and the effects of smartphone screens on your eyes.
6. Manage your blood pressure
1 in 3 adults in the UK are estimated to have high blood pressure. One of the key things to note about high blood pressure is that it has no noticeable symptoms most of the time, and potential damage to your vision may occur before you even realise something is wrong. Eye conditions commonly caused by high blood pressure include hypertensive retinopathy, glaucoma, choroidopathy and optic neuropathy. You can read more about the effects of high blood pressure on your eyes here. The biggest changes you can make to lower your blood pressure are reducing your salt and alcohol intake and minimising stress.
7. Quit smoking
We all know that smoking is bad for our lungs and can have numerous impacts on our overall health, but did you know that it can also damage your eye health? Your risk of sight loss is actually increased by four times if you smoke, and this figure increases even further if you’re a heavy smoker. Smoking can cause your colour vision to diminish, bring on age-related macular degeneration and cataracts sooner, and lead to optic neuropathy and neuritis, to name but a few conditions. Find out more about how smoking can affect your eye health here.
8. Exercise regularly
Keeping physically active and making sure you exercise at least three times a week has been proven to boost your eye health and lower your risk of developing sight-threatening eye conditions. Some of the eye conditions that you can reduce your risk of by exercising include glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and wet AMD. Running – particularly endurance running – has been found to improve your retinal vasculature (the blood vessels in your eyes), providing numerous benefits for your overall eye health. Read more about the positive impacts of running for your vision here.
9. Ensure you’re sleeping enough
We all know that not sleeping enough can make us feel lethargic, lose focus, and feel irritated. When it comes to the appearance of our eyes, a lack of sleep can result in puffy lids, bloodshot sclerae, and under-eye bags. However, there are a worrying number of side effects occurring due to a short night of sleep. Some of these side effects are light sensitivity, blurry vision, dry eye disease, amongst others. 35% of adults actually get less than five hours sleep each night, but 7-7.5 hours is optimal. Read more about why sleep is important for our eye health.
10. Replace cosmetics and makeup brushes
Around 75% of women wear makeup regularly, whether that’s a bit of concealer and blush, or mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow. However, eye makeup and makeup brushes have been called the “perfect breeding ground” for bacteria, causing uncomfortable eye conditions like conjunctivitis. Makeup use and subsequent infections can also lead to blocked meibomian glands, bacterial eye infections, and blepharitis occurring due to allergies to certain makeup ingredients. Practicing good makeup hygiene is essential when it comes to protecting your eye health, starting with regularly cleaning your brushes and throwing away expired makeup. Read more advice here.
We hope these 10 tips will help you to focus on your eye health and vision, and ensure you are doing all you can to protect it. If you feel that you would benefit from hearing about vision correction options, please do give us a call on 0800 093 1110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
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