Six Simple Sight Savers: National Eye Health Week
24th September 2021
24th September 2021
From 20th to 26th September 2021, it is National Eye Health Week. During this period, people are being asked to pay particular attention to their eye health, with the launch of a “Six Simple Sight Savers” guide to heathy vision.
Research shows half of all sight loss is avoidable, so the advice is to make some small lifestyle changes that could make a big difference to vision and eye health.
Most of us have no idea that what we eat can affect how well we see, however, eye-friendly nutrients found in many fruits and vegetables and fatty acids derived from fish, nuts and oils can all help protect your sight.
Vitamins B and E can help protect against cataracts, whilst omega 3 fish oils help maintain healthy blood vessels inside the eye. Research has shown that eating just one portion of fish a week can reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – the UK’s leading cause of sight loss – by up to 40%.
Smokers have a significantly greater risk of sight loss than non-smokers. Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the delicate surface and the internal structure of the eye. This can lead to an increased risk of many eye conditions including AMD, nuclear cataracts, thyroid eye disease, dry eye and poor colour vision.
More than half of all British adults are overweight, however maintaining a healthy weight helps preserve macula pigment density, which in turn helps protect the retina against the breakdown of cells and the onset of AMD.
Damage to blood vessels in the eye caused by excess body weight has also been linked to glaucoma.
Aerobic exercise can help increase oxygen supplies to the optic nerve and lower any pressure that builds up in the eye. Reducing intraocular eye pressure can help control conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
Exposure to UV light increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. According to the World Health Organisation, UV damage is the biggest modifiable risk factor of cataract development.
Always wear sunglasses when the UV index rises above three and check that your sunglasses filter AT LEAST 99% of UVA and UVB light. Look out for a CE of British Standard or UV 400 mark when choosing your sunglasses as this indicates they provide adequate UV protection.
On average, we spend a staggering 35 hours a week staring at a screen – so it’s no surprise that 90% of us say we experience screen fatigue – tired or irritated eyes, blurred vision, headaches and poor colour perception.
Avoid eye strain by using the 20-20-20 rule. Look 20 feet in front of you every 20 minutes or 20 seconds.
Most importantly, don’t forget to book an eye test during National Eye Health Week if you haven’t had one in the last two years.
To keep your eyes in tip top condition, and for minor eye complaints, head to Imperial Pharmacy in The Pantiles. The knowledgeable team can provide advice with regards to eye health matters and recommend in-store products to ensure your vision is at its best.
For further information about National Eye Health Week, visit: visionmatters.org.uk.