Don't forget your eyes! - The advice for most people is to go for a check-up every two years, unless your Optometrist advises otherwise. This health check is important as some eye conditions, for example Glaucoma, may not show any symptoms in the early stages. However research shows that "Five per cent of people over 40 said they had not been for a sight test for at least 10 years or could not recall when they last went." 1
Stop Smoking - If you do smoke there is a good reason to kick the habit. Smoking is linked to blindness. Current smokers are four times more likely to develop Macular Degeneration compared to past or non-smokers. (Macular Degeneration is a progressive disease that can lead to significant sight loss.)
It’s all relative – Talk to relatives to see if there is any history of problems with eye health. This is important as some eye conditions, such as Glaucoma, can run in families. It is especially important to think about your child's eyes and be aware of their vision. This is particularly important where there is a family history of lazy eye, or squint, or if family members needed particularly stong glasses when they were young.
Slip, Slap, Slop, Slide – We all know the importance of wearing Sunscreen in the Summer, to protect from harmful UV radiation. However it is important to protect the eyes as well, especially for children. It is estimated that 50 to 80 percent of the lifetime exposure to ultraviolet occurs by the age of 18 years. So protect your eyes when it is sunny or when you’re in high glare areas such as near snow or water. When choosing sunglasses make sure that they are safe as well as stylish! Look out for the CE or BS EN 1836:2005 marks – this ensures that they provide a safe level of protection from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. And remember in the sun to Slip on a shirt, Slap on a hat, Slop on the Sunscreen and Slide on your Sunglasses.
Contact lens care – If you wear contact lenses make sure you look after them properly. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands before touching your contact lenses or your eyes, and only ever clean your contact lenses using the solution recommended by your optometrist. Never shower, sleep or swim with your contact lenses in because this can put you at risk of developing a serious eye infection which could lead to blindness. Also, don’t wear them for longer periods than recommended by your optometrist. And remember: If in doubt, Take them out!
Protect your eyes – if you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home wear safety glasses or protective goggles to protect your eyes from injury.
Keep fit and healthy – regular exercise is essential to stay fit and healthy but it is also important that when playing sports such as squash that you wear protective eye wear such as helmets or sports goggles to protect your eyes from a flying ball.
Eat well – protecting your eyes starts with the food you eat. Nutrients rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E may help to prevent age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Recommended foods include green leafy vegetables and oily fish, such as salmon, and citrus fruits.