Love your eyes this Valentine’s Day
As we approach February 14th romance is in the air so it’s the perfect time for us to remind you how to love your eyes!
It’s staggering that more than two million people in the UK are living with vision loss. Imagine the heartache of not being able to see your loved ones.
But there are things we can all do right now to help protect our vision.
💗 Your child’s eyes
Make sure your child has regular eye examinations at your local optician’s practice. We recommend from the age of three, or earlier if you suspect there may be a problem. Children up to the age of 16 are entitled to free eye examinations on the NHS.
💗 Eye examinations
Adults should also keep up to regular eye appointments. It’s important to get your eyes tested at least every two years even if you think your vision is fine because not all eye conditions have symptoms.
💗 Eat a rainbow
Did you know that certain ingredients can be extremely beneficial in maintaining good eye health? Food that contains vitamins A, C and E; antioxidants and Omega 3 are essential for good eye health and can protect against conditions such as macular degeneration. Brightly coloured foods such as kale, spinach, blueberries, oily fish, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli and, of course, carrots, are all excellent eye health produce.
💗 Have an OCT eye scan
This is a 3D scan that enables your optician to see beneath the surface of your retina. It is effectively an ultrasound scan of the eye and can detect problems that are not always visible in a retinal photo or with conventional methods. Using the OCT machine, optometrists take a digital photo and a three dimensional cross section scan of the back of the eye. This allows for instant diagnosis of a number of common conditions. It’s non-invasive, painless, simple and quick. The software can detect even the most subtle changes to the retina giving an invaluable, ongoing record of the health and condition of your eyes. Common conditions identified through regular OCT screening include macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma, macular holes and vitreous detachments. Find out more about how these conditions affect your eyes here. An OCT scan is typically around £30.
💗 Keeping it in the family
It’s important that you’re aware of your family’s eye health history because many eye conditions and diseases can be hereditary. Your optician will routinely ask if anyone in your family has a history of eye problems as this can show if you are at a higher risk of developing certain vision problems.
💗 Don’t smoke
We all know that smoking is bad for our health and this includes our eyes. If you smoke then stop and if you don’t smoke then don’t start. It’s as simple as that.
💗 Watch your weight
Keeping to a healthy weight is also important for maintaining good eye health. If you are overweight or obese then you could be at an increased risk of developing systemic conditions such as diabetes which can lead to sight loss, such as diabetic eye disease.
💗 Wear specialist glasses for sport
Whatever your choice of sport, from skiing to cycling, golf to swimming, football to rugby, opticians can provide eyewear solutions to help keep you on top of your game. This includes prescription swimming goggles, contact lenses and specialist glasses for a whole range of sports. Find out more about sports glasses.
💗 Protect your eyes from the sun
When choosing a pair of sunglasses your top priority should always be the level of UV protection the lenses provide. Always check that your sunglasses provide 100% UV protection, this can also be referred to as UV400. Just because a lens is dark doesn’t necessarily mean that it is UV protective. Your optician will be happy to advise you on the level of UV protection a lens will offer. A good thing to remember is that a UV filter can also be applied to your every day spectacles which will not alter the colour of the lenses. This will give good UV protection when you’re not wearing your sunglasses. Excessive exposure to UV is one of the risk factors with eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Check our our Top 6 Tips for Choosing Sunglasses.
💗 Give your eyes a break
Prolonged computer use can cause symptoms such as:
- Visual fatigue
- Difficulty focusing
- Dry eyes
- Red eyes
If you spend a long time looking at the computer or focusing on one thing you can have a tendency to forget to blink. So, remember the 20-20-20 rule! Every 20 minutes, take a break and look about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds to help reduce eyestrain.
💗 Wear safety glasses
Even if you already wear glasses there are potential risks to your eyes if you work in any type of industrial environment, be it from machinery, sparks, metal fragments and even dust. Safety glasses are designed to protect your eyes and are available with prescription lenses where needed so you wouldn’t need to wear goggles over the top of your own spectacles. Always wear protective eyewear if it is required for your job and encourage your colleagues to do the same.