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Tips for top eye health

  • August 9, 2022
  • 3 min read
Tips for top eye health

It’s no secret that lifestyle changes can improve your health and that includes your eyes. The Eye Care Trust offers some tips to keep your eyes in peak condition. 

Eating a healthy balanced diet can reduce your risk of developing common eye conditions. Doing so can help protect against age-related macular degradation (AMD), which affects over half a million people in the UK, and is the world’s leading cause of blindness. 

Regular exercises, including aerobic exercises, can increase the oxygen supply to the optic nerve and lower pressure in the eye. Doing so “can help control conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension,” the Trust says. Aerobic exercise can also prevent the progression of diabetes “which in severe cases can lead to diabetic retinopathy.” Half-an-hour a week, five days a week, can make a big difference. Consult your GP before commencing any new exercise programme.

Getting a good night’s sleep can keep your eyes feeling bright and refreshed. A lack of sleep and fatigue can make them sore, irritated, puffy, red, and bloodshot. “A quick fix for relieving your eyes from any discomfort caused by lack of sleep is to place a cold compress – wet tea bags, slices of cucumber or a cold wet face cloth – over your eyes then lie back and relax for ten minutes.”

Smoking harms your health in many ways and poses a higher risk of eye disease. Research from RNIB found that smokers are twice as likely to lose their vision later in life. 

As with smoking, drinking too much alcohol also has an effect. It “interferes with your liver functions reducing the levels of glutathione, an efficient antioxidant that can help protect against common eye disease.”

The British Safety Council estimates that almost a quarter of a million people will injure their eyes, with half happening at home. Using goggles in risky situations can make all the difference. 

Similarly, protecting yourself against UV light is also important. Don’t just get a cheap pair of sunglasses from the pound-shop. Make sure that they actually filter against the sun’s UV light. That also applies to children.

Maintaining a healthy weight can preserve macular pigment density, which helps to protect the retina against the cells breaking down, as well as the onset of AMD. Those with a higher BMI tended to have lower pigment density and are at a greater risk of AMD. 

As with most things, drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause sore and irritated eyes. The Food Standards Agency recommends 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses) a day, and more than that if you exercise, or if it’s hot outside. 

In addition, limiting screen time can also make a big difference.  

Finally, it is recommended that you have regular eye exams every two years, unless advised otherwise by your optometrist. Not only will an exam detect problems, but it can uncover a number of other underlying health problems. 

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