In partnership with Guernsey Eyes
Good vision is something most of us take for granted. We accept that our eyesight will naturally deteriorate as part of the ageing process, but ‘chic’ has replaced ‘geek’ when it comes to eyewear and wearing glasses has become such a style statement we think we can fix our vision by simply popping on a pair of glasses, right? Wrong!
Taking good care of your eyes now can help prevent a multitude of issues that could affect your vision in years to come. By adopting these healthy habits and making simple lifestyle changes now you can significantly reduce your eye health risks, and also protect your eyes from injury and infection.
Do you notice that your eyes sometimes feel dry? That’s not uncommon, especially at this time of year. Our eyes have to deal with extreme conditions when we’re out and about in cold and windy weather. And it’s no better indoors, with the air conditioning and heating turned up high, both challenging the eyes to stay hydrated. Drinking water can help and Shona advises also considering using eye drops. She also suggests it may be worth considering a lubricating eye drop to ease discomfort. If you moisturise your hands then why not your eyes?
Eating a varied and nutrient rich diet is good for your overall health, so it figures that nourishing your body will naturally benefit your vision. But there are some specific foods you can incorporate into your diet on a regular basis to boost your eye health, namely those containing lutein. Lutein is one of the carotenoids - the pigments in plants that have antioxidant properties and produce bright colours - and it’s also found in the human eye. Shona explains that lutein acts as a light filter, protecting the eye tissues from sunlight damage. Foods rich in lutein include egg yolks, dark leafy vegetables, courgette, squash, orange peppers, kiwis and grapes. So get into the habit of including some of these foods as staples of your diet to set your eyes up for success.
Screen time is an inevitable part of our lives these days, but too much time spent staring at your device can take its toll on your eye health. Shona suggests taking regular breaks to prevent eye strain, headaches, fatigue and dry eyes. When you are working online, she recommends setting up your screen in the correct position, taking the time to consciously blink and having regular eye breaks. Research also suggests that adopting the 20-20-20 rule can help ease eye strain. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at your screen, try to spend 20 seconds looking at something else that is 20 feet away from you. Taking a digital detox every once in a while is another good habit to get into.
Your eyes are precious so get into the habit of wearing protective eyewear when you are doing anything that could injure or irritate them. Wearing protective glasses when you are using harsh cleaning products or doing potentially hazardous work in the garden will give you a layer of protection and help avoid accidental damage to your eyes. Some sports require protective eyewear too, and even some of the more common activities can cause irritation. For example, wearing goggles when you are swimming will not only keep water out of your eyes, it will also protect them from chlorine or salt.
Many of us wear makeup daily with no issues whatsoever, but sometimes applying products to the sensitive eye area can cause irritation. Adopting these simple habits should help to keep your risks to a minimum. Always wash your hands before applying makeup and keep your brushes and sponges clean. Replace your eye makeup regularly to avoid a build up of bacteria and never share your mascara or eyelash curlers. Always use natural products from brands you can trust and remove your eye makeup thoroughly at the end of the day. Shona has a word of warning with party season coming up and advises us to be aware of the placing of solvents when applying products such as fake eyelashes.
We all know the benefits of exercise for our physical and mental health, but are you aware of the positive effects of an active lifestyle for your eye health? Getting into the habit of moving more can help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and can be a preventative measure against high blood pressure, both of which can have an adverse effect on your eye health. The eye itself can also benefit from regular exercise, It is powered by a set of muscles and like any muscle in your body, the more you exercise it and take care of it, the better it will work. Simple exercises such as following the 20-20-20 rule to relieve eye strain and consciously blinking to stimulate moisturisation can be beneficial. Every little helps, as they say.
As with all areas of health and self care, it’s important to know how your eyes normally look and feel as a baseline for change. Getting to know your ‘normal’ will help you to recognise when changes occur. Shona advises that getting to know your family history is also vitally important. If you know of an eye condition that runs in your family, talking through the implications with your optometrist may help you to do something to slow down the process, or maybe even prevent it. One such example is Glaucoma, which can ultimately lead to a loss of vision if it is not diagnosed and treated early. Shona also flags the need to consider your vision when it comes to medication. Be aware that certain medications may affect your vision, therefore as your dose changes, so may your sight. If you have any concerns you should visit your optician, who can advise you on the implications of your specific medication regime.
Prevention is always better than cure so take a proactive approach to your eye care needs by scheduling regular check ups with your optometrist. Health wise, this habit will bring reassurance that all is well, and if the experts do spot the early signs of vision problems, timely intervention can help to slow down or treat the condition. So book your appointment now. The sooner you start, the sooner this will become a regular part of your self care routine.
Your vision will naturally change over time and wearing lenses with the wrong prescription strength, or not wearing glasses or lenses at all when you need them, will not only affect your vision, it can also affect your health and your safety. So it’s important to have regular eye tests to check if your prescription has changed. And it’s also an excuse to upgrade your eyewear. Wearing glasses has become such a style statement. Chic has replaced geek when it comes to eyewear and the range of and celebrity endorsed and designer frames is mindblowing. But, as with all fashion trends, getting the right style and fit is key, so ask the team at your optometrists to guide you.
Guernsey Eyes is a friendly, family run optometrist practice, offering professional and personalised eye examinations and screening services. Founder Shona Linton is a qualified optometrist with over 30 years experience. She is passionate about delivering personalised and professional eye care solutions, sourcing high quality portable equipment which enables her to come to you if you have physical, mental or social access challenges.