"A third of people believe their eye health has deteriorated during the UK lockdowns and Covid restriction periods"
Dr Andy Hepworth - Essilor
6 SIMPLE WAYS TO BOOST EYE HEALTH
Revitalise eyes with a boost of vitamins and a better diet
Certain antioxidants help to promote good eye health – these include omega-3 fats and beta-carotene; vitamins such as C and E, which reduce the risks of developing AMD, and zinc and carotenoids. Sources of vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin also promote good eye health.
A varied and balanced diet is crucial for a healthy lifestyle but if you are looking to add more eye boosting benefits into your meals then kale, butternut squash, blueberries, apricot and salmon are my go-to superfoods and a great place to start.
Digital Downtime to reduce Dry Eye and CVS
According to research, around one in four people in the UK (around 13 million adults) currently suffer from Dry Eye, which causes red, itchy and tired feeling eyes. These symptoms can also be exasperated by eye strain (or Computer Vision Syndrome CVS) – another eye condition that has become more common in tandem with an increase of time staring at screens.
Follow the 20:20:20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a a break for 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet away. Following this rule will help prevent eye fatigue.
Contact lens wearers can be particularly susceptible to Dry Eye so if you are a lens wearer then you should make sure that you don’t wear them for longer than recommended and give your eyes a break by wearing glasses instead of your lenses on some occasions.
Don’t look on the bright side
Over exposure to UV light that can lead to premature ageing, plus serious eye health issues such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Excessive UV exposure also has been linked to corneal sunburn and retinal tissue damage. It can also cause eye strain and headaches.
UVA rays are less damaging than intensive UVB rays, but eyes need to be protected from both.
Make sure sunglasses have proper UV protection. The minimum should ideally be UV 400 protection, which blocks nearly 100% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, with both UVA and UVB protection.
Practice Good Hygiene
There are a number of common eye infections that can be easily treated, but it’s also advisable to try and avoid them with some simple precautions.
Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition where the conjunctiva becomes inflamed as a reaction to outside influences, causing it to become sore or irritated.
There are three main types of conjunctivitis:
Infective - This happens as a result of an infection caused by a virus or bacteria.
Allergic – This is due to exposure to an allergen, such as pollen.
Irritant – This may occur when an irritant substance enters the eye.
Most types of conjunctivitis tend to clear up within one or two weeks, often without needing any medical treatment. If treatment is needed, eyedrops or antibiotics will normally be advised depending on what type of conjunctivitis you have.
There are some simple precautions you can take in order to minimise the likelihood of catching common eye infections. Avoid rubbing your eyes and ensure you wash your hands frequently. Also keep your towels and bed linen clean and fresh. Allergy sufferers should have antihistamines at hand to help prevent symptoms.
Avoid and alleviate allergens
Itchy eyes occur due to irritation from pollen or another allergen landing on or near your eye. Once your eyes are itchy, they tend to become red due to an inflammatory response trying to fight off the irritant. Redness can also occur from rubbing your eyes, which will only increase the irritation. You may also experience watery eyes – this is the body’s way of trying to flush out the irritant, by producing excess tears.
One of the best ways to keep on top of allergies is to wash your bedding, pillows, duvets, towels, clothes, etc regularly – especially during the summer months. You should also wash your face and hair at the end of the day too and save your pyjamas for when you go to bed. This will avoid them picking up any particles which could affect your eyes whilst you sleep.
Wear glasses and/or prescription sunglasses as opposed to contact lenses on the days when the pollen count is particularly high. Wraparound sunglasses can also provide additional protection, to help keep allergens away from your eyes.
A cold compress will provide some welcome relief for eyes that are itchy and irritated. It will also help to reduce swelling
Take a vision test
Stress, excessive screen time, poor diet and missed eye appointments can all impact on eye health, so we’re urging people to consider changes that can be made to your lifestyle to support better eye health and to speak to your optician if you have any concerns whatsoever, and make sure that keep up to date with your eye examinations.
Regular eye appointments are not just about keeping our eyesight in check. Our eyes can provide an early warning to a number of other health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even brain tumours.
Maintaining regular eye examinations with your local optician is the best and most straightforward way to look after your eye health and vision. It is recommended you visit an optician every two years, unless you have a more complicated eye health history (your Optician will recommend how regularly you should be seen).