Sight loss is estimated to have a severe impact on the daily lives of 2 million people in the UK.
National Eye Health Week, 23-29 September, aims to highlight the importance of eye health and how to best look after your eyes. As part of this awareness week, the key message is that almost 50% of all sight loss is avoidable.
Vision Matters, a national eye health charity is promoting the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests during this week, sharing some top tips on how to look after your eyes.
- Regular check-ups: Get your eyes tested every two years, even if you think your vision is fine as there are some eye conditions such as open angle glaucoma, that may not show noticeable symptoms. It is also important that prior to eye tests, you discuss eye health with your relatives as some eye conditions have genetic links.
- Protect your eyes: Ensure that your eyes are protected against the elements to prevent damage. If you are working with hazardous/ airborne materials or out in the sun/ in high glare areas, don’t forget to wear sunglasses or safety/ protective goggles. Look out for the CE, UV 400 or British Standard marks when buying sunglasses to ensure they provide a safe level of protection from the UV rays.
- Contact Care: Make sure you look after your contact lenses by thoroughly washing and drying your hands before touching them or your eyes and when cleaning the lenses, only ever use contact lens solution. Avoid wearing your contact lenses for longer than recommended and never shower, sleep or swim with your lenses in.
- Look after yourself: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise, quitting smoking, ensuring your alcohol intake is within recommended limits and eating well can all contribute to your eye health. Foods such as salmon, eggs, whole grains, chicken and citrus fruits all contain eye-friendly nutrients. There is also emerging evidence that spending time outdoors, for two hours or more a day, can help improve eye health.
- Be screen smart: Although working at a computer won’t harm your eyes, sitting staring at a screen for long periods can cause ‘screen fatigue’. This can include sore, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, impaired colour perception and temporary blurring. To avoid these, take regular breaks and keep your eyes feeling fresh and bright.
For more information about looking after your eyes visit www.visionmatters.org.uk