Keeping your eyes healthy

Dr Davina Deniszczyc Dr Davina Deniszczyc Medical Executive Director, Nuffield Health
Some of us are at higher risk of developing sight problems, but by taking regular eye tests and making small adjustments to our daily activity we can support good eye health.

Common eye problems

Eye tests do not only exist to identify whether or not you need to start wearing glasses, or whether it is time to change your prescription; they can also detect some common eye conditions and investigate symptoms such as cataracts, cloudy vision and floaters. By identifying such conditions early, regular eye tests can protect and prolong your vision.

Some of us are at a higher risk of developing sight problems, for example, those with a family history of glaucoma, an eye disorder marked by high pressure within the eyeball that leads to optic damage. Generally, those aged 40 or over are more likely to develop sight problems, with those aged 60 or over more likely still, so for these groups it’s even more important to have your eyes tested on a regular basis.

Get an eye test

It is easy for us to neglect our eyes as they often do not hurt when there's a problem. High pressure and Glaucoma have no symptoms until the damage has been done and can’t be reversed. An eye care professional can identify issues that may not have warning signs and provide treatment to prolong vision and eye health. An eye test at least every two years is recommended, and more frequently if you already have problems with your eyes.

Protect your eyes from screen damage

There are many simple exercises you can do to defend your eyes against damage from everyday activities. With many of us spending hours at desks, looking at screens and tablets, there are five tips that make a big difference:

  • Pause to look into the distance or look out of the window at regular intervals
  • Blink your eyes at regular intervals
  • Stretch your head and neck from time to time
  • Take frequent breaks from the screen to relieve your eyes
  • Always work in well-lit conditions to prevent eye strain.

A healthy lifestyle that protects your eyes

There are more ways we can lower our risk of eye disease in our daily lives. We can't prevent diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts (an eye disease in which the lens becomes covered in an opaque film that can eventually causing total sight loss) and AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration, caused by the gradual death of light-sensitive receptors in the retina) but you can lower your risk of developing them by implementing the following lifestyle recommendations:

  • Don't start smoking, or take steps to quit. Research has shown that smoking can lead to a multitude of eye related health problems, so avoiding smoking is key to healthy eyes
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation emitted from the sun
  • Maintain a healthy diet that includes plenty of green, leafy vegetables.

Sources

https://www.royalfree.nhs.uk/services/services-a-z/stop-smoking-service/smoking-and-your-eyes/

Last updated Wednesday 21 August 2019