It’s common for eyesight to naturally weaken with age, so making sure you look after your eyes is critical. In this article we look at solutions to help keep your eyes healthy.
Get your eyes tested
Your eyes don’t usually hurt when something is wrong, which is why it’s important to get your eyes checked at least every two years. Not only does an eye test show whether you need to get glasses or change your current glasses, it also tells you if there are early signs of an eye disease before you’re aware of any symptoms. Also, see your GP if you’re experiencing any discomfort like itchiness or redness in the eyes and it can’t be treated with eye drops from your pharmacy.
If you’re 60 or over, the NHS will provide you with free eye tests as often as you need one. If you’re already wearing glasses, eye tests can help to establish whether you need a different prescription for your glasses or contact lenses. Wearing the right lenses will improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of accidents.
Eat right, protect your sight
For eye health it’s also important to include a wide range of foods in your diet. Eating your way to good eyesight isn’t just about eating orange foods stacked with vitamin A, as there are plenty of other sources with essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your eyes.
So, what should you eat? Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and collard greens are full of antioxidants than can help stem the development of macular degeneration. Moreover, eggs contain zeaxanthin; an antioxidant found in egg yolk which is believed to help protect your eyes against ultraviolet radiation damage. Whole grains are also known to help reduce risk for age-related macular degeneration. Simply swap refined carbs for quinoa, brown rice, and whole oats to get your vitamin E levels up. Several studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial to your eye health by protecting adult eyes from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. The best food sources are cold-water fish, for example sardines, herring, salmon and tuna. If you’re not a fish lover you can opt for taking fish oil supplements, which are available in capsule form and fortunately many varieties have a “non-fishy” taste. Additionally, foods which are rich in zinc — beans, peas peanuts, lean red meat and poultry — are helpful in resisting light damage.
Quit Smoking (or don’t start)
Smoking can dramatically increase incidence of macular denegation, which is why you should consider stopping smoking if you smoke regularly. Studies show that smoking can damage your optic nerve which can ultimately lead to blindness.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that frequent exercise is good for you for many reasons. Besides helping to fight cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, it is also an important factor in keeping your eyes healthy. Even if it’s only a brisk walk around your neighbourhood or a jog through the park, both activities may be associated with decreased risk of age-related cataract, according to a 2016 study on visual impairment and blindness in adults. If you’re suffering from Glaucoma — an eye condition where the fluid in the eye cannot drain properly, which puts pressure on the optic nerve — low-impact exercise can significantly reduce eye pressure.
We therefore recommend making time in your schedule for regular exercise. Try out what works best for you and get into the habit of working out.
Protect from the sun
We’ve all heard about how important it is to protect or skin from the sun but protecting your eyes from blue and ultraviolet (UV) is also crucial. When shopping for new sunglasses, make sure to look for a European CE mark or British Standard BSEN 1836:2005 to ensure good quality lenses. The danger of risking eye damage from solar UV radiation is cumulative, meaning it’s especially important for children to be protected when exposed to the sun. Wearing sunglasses, a hat and sunblock can immensely decrease this risk, so make sure your kids are protected from the sun when they go outdoors!
Give your eyes a rest
The muscles in your eyes are always active, especially when you’re working on something close up on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Even if you have normal sight, this can cause tiredness and headaches. That’s why it’s recommended to follow the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds long. Additionally, you can cut glare of the screen by moving light sources or using a screen filter. Position your lights correctly when you’re reading a book or looking at your computer screen: low light or bright lights can cause eyestrain.
Not only can you help your eyes by looking away from your computer screen, ensuring you get plenty of sleep is also recommended. To help you fall asleep easier, we’ve compiled a list of tips which you can read by clicking here.
We would love to hear about the things you do to keep your eyes healthy! Tweet us at @Tower_Health, send us a message on Facebook and use the hashtag #THealth