Healthy living: top tips for optimal eye health in the New Year
Whilst most people might be concentrating on being healthy in the New Year in order to lose weight or to make up for their over indulgence over the festive period, it’s also just as important to look after your eye health, so why not add this to your list of resolutions?
Below are some tips to help keep your eyes healthy in 2018:
Wear contact lenses correctly
Make sure you know how to put in your contact lenses properly and how to clean them if you don’t use daily disposables. It’s also important to have a regular contact lenses appointment as this is a slightly different check-up compared to your regular eye test. Perhaps consider having a contact lense break at least once a week and wearing your glasses for a day instead.
Use your glasses when needed
Make sure you wear your glasses when you need them instead of struggling to see. Ensure your glasses are the correct prescription to prevent unnecessary eye strain. Squinting to try and see things in focus can cause eye fatigue and even cause headaches. I’m definitely guilty of being too lazy to fetch my glasses and squinting instead, which I can only imagine will cause more wrinkles around my eyes too!
Walking or cardio for one hour a day may be effective at preventing eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and age related degeneration. Exercise along with a healthy diet also helps to prevent other diseases such as type 2 diabetes which can cause eye problems and even sight loss. Obesity is linked to several eye conditions, so maintaining a healthy weight is very important for your eye health.
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Soothe dry eyes
If you have persistent dry eyes then investing in some eye drops could be the solution. There are several options and your local pharmacy should be able to help you choose one that is right for you. If dry eyes persist then book an eye health check with your optometrist.
Get enough shut eye
To prevent tired eyes and dark circles make sure you get enough sleep. Your eyes need to rest and recuperate overnight too, so regular quality sleep is essential.
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Attend regular eye appointments
It’s recommended to attend an eye test every two years and it’s important for more than just your vision. The optician will also look inside your eye to check your eye health and this will also flag up any potential diseases, including your risk of developing glaucoma. Glaucoma can cause sight loss and it has no symptoms, so an eye test is vital to check for signs of this eye condition. Other illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and even some cancers can also be detected by looking in the eye. Don’t avoid an eye test just because you think you have perfect vision. An eye test could save your life.
Eat a nutritious diet
A nutritious and healthy diet is vital for our entire body to work optimally, and this is no different for our eyes. A diet rich in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals will ensure our eye health is optimal now and in the future. Carrots really do help you to see in the dark. Your parents weren’t lying! They are rich in beta-carotene which protects against night blindness and cataracts. Lutein which is also found in carrots as well as spinach, kale, broccoli and more, can help protect the eyes from age related damage.
Drinking too much alcohol can affect your eyes and vision in the long term, but in the short term it can create black under-eye circles and cause the whites to turn yellow. Reduce your intake or stop drinking this poison altogether.
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UV rays from the sun can damage our eyes, so it’s important to minimise their impact by wearing protective sunglasses. Avoid looking directly at the sun. Not all shades offer protection so ensure yours are CE marked for UV protection.
Reduce screen time
We use screens for an average of eight hours a day which puts massive strain on our eyes. Check with your employer, as many offer free eye tests if you use a screen for the majority of the working day. Make sure you look away from your screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.
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Check your eye makeup
If you wear eye makeup, make sure it’s within date. Did you even know that cosmetics and toiletries have an expiry date? There’s a small symbol like a lid lifting up on the reverse of every packet with a number such as 6, 12 or 24. These are the number of months the product is safe for once opened. It’s your makeups expiry date. Make sure your brushes are cleaned regularly to prevent a build-up of bacteria which you’re then transporting to your eyes. Yuck! To prevent eye irritation, soreness and even infections, be sure to completely remove your makeup before bed. Make sure you are using the most natural based eye makeups and removers possible to prevent nasty chemicals getting into your eyes.
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Use night time mode on your smart phone
If you can’t put your phone down in bed and are browsing in low light or even darkness, make sure you switch on night time mode for your screen brightness. On the iPhones this changes the background glow to orange instead of blue light, which is less harmful to the eye. We also blink a lot less when looking at our mobile screens, so take a blinking break every 20 minutes to refresh your eyes.
And finally, we all know smoking is terrible for our health and for the health of those around us too. Smoke is also an irritant to our eyes causing itchiness and dryness. Quitting smoking could be one of the best things you decide to do in 2018.
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