Opticians’ advice ahead of National Eye Health Awareness Week

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It’s National Eye Health Week (September 18-24), and Specsavers is encouraging everyone to make sure they are taking care of their sight.

Here’s ten steps that can be followed to help promote better eye health:

Have your eyes tested regularly – Regular examinations are key to maintaining good eyesight and are also an important health-check. Many diseases that affect the eye do not show symptoms until it is too late. We recommend that you book an eye test at least every two years.

Protect your eyes like you would your skin – Just as your skin needs sunscreen, your eyes need to be shielded from the sun too. Exposure to UV light can contribute to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, so invest in sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.

Watch what you eat – Although the idea that carrots help you to see in the dark is an old wives’ tale, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale as well as blueberries and blackberries are rich in lutein – a carotenoid that protects against age-related macular degeneration.

Take a screen break – If you work in front of a computer screen all day, use the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a rest. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to give your eyes a break from the constant strain of focusing.

Quit smoking – Smoking makes you more likely to develop cataracts, optic nerve damage and age-related macular degeneration.

Get a good night’s sleep – A lack of sleep and tiredness can lead to your eyes becoming sore, irritated, puffy, red and bloodshot.

Watch your weight – Being overweight can increase the risk of you developing age-related macular degeneration. Excess body weight has also been linked to the onset of glaucoma and diabetes.

Drink plenty of water – Water is key to all of the body’s functions, and sight is no different. Dehydration can lead to dry, sore and irritated eyes.

Know your family history – Being aware of any hereditary conditions is important in understanding the long-term health of your eyes. If a specific condition runs in your family, ask your optician for advice on any steps you can take early-on to prevent it.

Protect your eyes at work – When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times and encourage your colleagues to do the same.