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Eyecare Tips

Regular eye examinations are key in detecting eye and vision problems as well as health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, or other cardiovascular or neurological issues.

Under NHS recommendations we advise an eye examination every two years for adults and every year or sooner for children and people over 60.

Many eye conditions run in families, from vision corrections such as long and short sight to diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes. Knowledge of eye problems in relatives can help detect a condition before it becomes serious.

Your optometrist is the first person you should visit if you have any eye concerns. They can assess the problem, treat, and if necessary, refer you to the right place for treatment.

A healthy, balanced diet with vitamins and antioxidants could help prevent eye problems. Healthy nutrition includes omega-3 fats found in oily fish, and lutein which is found in green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Eating five fruits and vegetables a day ensures we get Vitamins A, C and E in our diet.

Many people are unaware of the link between smoking and eye disease. Smoking can lead to loss of vision or blindness as well as affect our general health. Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing eye diseases, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. However long you have smoked it’s never too late to benefit from quitting and reducing your risk.

Looking at a screen for a long time can strain our eyes and cause dry eyes, blurred vision, tired eyes, itchy eyes and/or watery eyes. Some tips to help with eye strain are:

  • Take regular breaks from your computer
  • Adjust your screens brightness
  • Wear prescribed glasses with anti-reflection coating or enhanced blue coating

When working on something close up, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone, our eye muscles are active. This may cause tiredness and headaches, even in those with normal sight. A healthy tip is to follow the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. And don’t forget to blink as this helps prevent your eyes drying out.

Many eye and vision problems develop or progress as we get older. Contrary to the myth, wearing glasses and contact lenses doesn’t make your eyesight worse, they help your eyes work more efficiently reducing any strain in the eyes.

Our eyes need protection from UV radiation, even on cloudy, overcast days. As well as comfort in the sun, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays. When choosing sunglasses, always make sure they are CE or British Standard marked. 

There are different types of sunglasses - everyday ones, prescription ones or for specialist sports. Exposure to UV does more harm at a younger age so protecting a child’s eyes with sunglasses, a hat and sunblock are useful.

Our eyes can become dry, tired and sore if you are not producing enough tears or have poor quality tears. Central heating, air-conditioning and computer use can make it worse. Many adults can suffer from dry eyes due to a health issues or certain medication. Lubricating eye drops can soothe irritation and reduce discomfort. You may find taking omega-3 supplements helps over time. Drink plenty of water and remember to blink often. If your eyes are persistently dry, contact your optometrist.

It is important to ensure that your vision meets the legal requirement. A driver is required to read a number plate at 20.5 metres with glasses or contact lenses if required.

Poor sight affects our ability to judge distances, cause eye strain and tiredness. Darkness and headlight glare also affects vision especially at night. Regular eye examinations will ensure your eyesight is up to standard and driving vision is comfortable and safe.

Lens coatings such as an anti-reflection coating can reduce reflected light from headlights and improve vision. Prescription or polarised sunglasses help reduce glare from the sun.

Whether you are partaking in general DIY, gardening or anything that may throw a high-speed particle into your eye, always make sure you are wearing eye protection as this significantly reduces the chances of anything getting into your eyes.

Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly, especially before handling contact lenses. Washing your hands avoids spreading germs and infection. If you have blepharitis, use lid hygiene wipes to help tackle any flare ups.