The sixth annual National Eye Health Week takes place this month from 21st – 27th September. The Week aims to inspire people to make healthy lifestyle choices that will benefit their eyes, as well as highlighting the importance of having regular eye tests.
To help you get on track, here are 6 top tips for keeping your eyes healthy.
1: Eat a healthy diet
Most of us aren’t aware that what we eat can affect how well we see. However, research shows that eye-friendly nutrients found in many fruit and vegetables can help protect against conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. Dark green leafy veg, like spinach and kale, are particularly beneficial. Also, oily fish, like salmon and tuna are packed with omega 3 which helps ease the symptoms of dry eyes.
2: Quit smoking
Recent research shows that being a smoker can more than double your chances of sight loss. Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the delicate surface and the internal structure of the eye. This increases your risk of developing eye conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, thyroid eye disease and dry eyes.
3: Watch your weight
A high body mass index (BMI) doubles your risk of suffering macular degeneration and significantly increases your chances of developing cataracts. It also increases your risk of developing eye complications from general health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.
4: Keep fit
Studies show that even moderate exercise can help reduce your risk of glaucoma by lowering eye pressure and improving blood flow to the optic nerve. Also, the antioxidant effects of exercise are thought to reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
5: Protect against UV light
Exposure to the sun’s UV rays increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as pterygium and eyelid cancer. Surprisingly, the sun in autumn is more hazardous than summer sunshine. That’s because the lower position of the sun in the sky in autumn means more UV radiation enters your eyes. To ensure full UV protection, always choose sunglasses marked “CE” or “BS EN 1836:2005”.
6: Book an eye test
And, last but not least, don’t forget to book an eye test if you haven’t had one in the last two years. Remember, a sight test is not just about getting glasses - it is also a vitally important health check for you and your eyes.
For further tips and guidance on looking after your eyes, click on the National Eye Health Week website at: www.visionmatters.org.uk.