Diet and lifestyle choices have a huge effect on our eyes therefore it’s important to look after them.
Our eyes require vital nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, zinc and omega-3 to remain healthy and help them to function at their optimum level. These nutrients can be found in supplements however the best way to consume them is through your diet.
Exposure to pollution, harsh UV rays, working in harsh weather conditions and wearing makeup can all contribute to long term eye damage.
We’re going to provide you with some simple lifestyle tips that will help your eyes stay stronger for longer.
Regular Eye Exams
Routing eye check-ups are an important ritual of self-care that everybody should have booked in their diary. Poor eye health can often be left untreated due to irregular eye examinations, resulting in their conditions reaching a level of maturity that could cause or harm or be left untreatable.
If you’re over the age of 40, regular eye exams are a necessity because many people don’t develop conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration until later in life.
Early diagnosis and treatment are key to avoiding unnecessary vision loss.
Practice Good Hygiene
Everyone should be practicing good daily hygiene with regular hand washing to prevent the spreading of germs and bacteria. Many eye diseases are transferred from touching the eye area with unwashed hands.
Conjunctivitis, staph and even trachoma can be transferred from hand to eye which is dangerous because viral and bacterial damage infections can cause permanent damage if severe enough.
There’s a heightened risk of developing uveitis if you wear contact lenses therefore you should have a routine in place to reduce your risk.
A good contact lens regime is beneficial to protect your eyes from infection. Some good rules to follow are;
- Don’t reuse solution
- Dispose of expired solution
- Don’t use the same contact lens for extended periods
- Avoid touching the tip of the solution bottle
- Regularly sterilise your contact lens case
- Wash your hands before touching contact lenses
Quitting smoking is not only fantastic for your eye health, but for your health overall. Cigarette smoke causes the film of tears on the eye to evaporate which can leave smokers with chronic dry eye symptoms. Chronic dry eye symptoms can lead to further complications if left untreated.
Reduce Screen Time
Our eyes can be affected by a disproportionate time spent looking at screens. Also, long periods of time spent looking at mobiles, tablets or computers can be a contributing factor in the development of myopia in children.
Blue light emitted by monitors and mobile devices have been linked to macular degeneration and poor retinal health. Spending prolonged periods of time on the computer can cause eye fatigue or become strained which can lead to headaches.
People also tend to blink less when focused on a screen, leading to irritability and dry eye. Screen fatigue is easily combated by taking regular computer breaks throughout the day.
Keeping a healthy and balanced diet is not beneficial for overall health management, but what you eat has a significant effect on your ocular health.
Lowering your sugar intake is important especially if you have a family history of diabetes. Diabetes affects the body’s ability to produce the hormone insulin, which helps to regulate sugar levels in your blood.
If blood sugar levels are continuously high, the chance of developing poor eye health rises exponentially. Eye conditions linked to diabetes typically affect the retina, causing damage to the blood vessels resulting in diabetic retinopathy.
Various nutrients and antioxidants can reduce the risk of macular degeneration or cataracts. Also, Vitamin C can help or improve symptoms of glaucoma. Omega-3 fatty acids safeguard from macular damage and those suffering from chronic dry eye.
Fish, particularly tuna and salmon are fantastic sources of omega-3 as well as egg yolk and certain nuts and seeds. Glaucoma, dry eye and macular degeneration are less likely to develop in people who enjoy an omega-3 rich diet.
Vitamin C helps the small blood vessels located in the eye to function correctly. Additionally, vitamin C is linked with the reduction of cataracts and macular degeneration. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale as well oranges and lemons are high sources of vitamin C.
Zinc allows the body to effectively process vitamin A which promotes good health towards the retina. Zinc also helps to combat eye infections and slow the progression of cataracts. Red meat, poultry and eggs are all high sources of zinc.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are found are found in leafy greens like spinach and kale. Lutein can be found in the macular of the eye and helps shield from harmful UV rays which are damaging to the eyes.
The combination of zeaxanthin and lutein can help to prevent cataracts and vision loss while reducing eye fatigue. Avocados, peas and broccoli are all great sources of zeaxanthin and lutein.
Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage
UV rays are divided into two types, UV-A and UV-B, both of these can affect our ocular health.
UV-A has been linked to retinal damage, increasing the risk factor for developing macular degeneration as we age. UV-B is known to affect the cornea and lens of your eye, leading to an increased risk of cataract development.
Purchasing a good quality pair of polarised or UV rated sunglasses is an investment in lifelong levels of strong vision.
Myopia, also referred to as short-sightedness, is a growing global epidemic affecting 30-40% of the western world rising to 80% Asia.
There’s been a sharp rise in the levels of myopic children due to the availability of modern technology. Children are now more likely to interact with friends online from home through video games and instant messaging.
Whether you’re a parent or not, it’s important to schedule outdoor family activities that encourage them to get out and reduce the likelihood if near-sightedness development.
Myopia is treatable with glasses or contact lenses. Other treatments include laser eye surgery and intraocular lens implants.
Keeping a good diet and staying active is part of a healthy lifestyle that can improve your overall health. Eating well, exercising regularly and following our tips can reduce your risk of developing problems that can lead to untreatable eye disease later in life.