Most of us take our eyesight for granted but imagine if you couldn’t see your family or navigate around your environment safely. Some conditions, such as glaucoma, have no symptoms and can lead to you losing your eyesight without warning.
With the colder months underway, Lenstore have put together six tips on how to best look after your eyes this winter and beyond:
Make exercise part of your routine
Physical exercise is good for all aspects of our health, including our eyes. Studies have found correlations between regular exercise and reducing risks for common eye problems, including cataracts and glaucoma.
It can be difficult to maintain a good exercise routine during the winter, however cardio is particularly important for eye health, lowering intraocular pressure and increasing blood flow to the optic nerve and retina. Something as simple as incorporating a brisk walk into our daily routines can provide great benefits to both our vision and overall health.
If you wear contacts, think hygiene
It’s important to take steps to prevent eye infections if you’re a contact lens wearer. Wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before you insert or remove your contact lenses. Only wear them for the recommended time and never sleep in them to avoid developing infections and dry eye syndrome.
If you’re suffering from a winter cold, it’s advised to stay away from wearing contact lenses (especially if your eyes are red and puffy) since you risk transferring an infection from your hands to your eyes, potentially causing issues. You should also avoid falling asleep in your lenses since this can result in serious irritation and even infections.
Wear sunglasses to prevent UV damage
Even in winter, especially when it’s been snowing, it is still important to wear sunglasses to prevent eye strain and problems such as photokeratitis. The ultraviolet (UV) light can have harmful effects on the eyelid, cornea and retina and is especially powerful when reflected from snow and ice.
We can protect our eyes by wearing sunglasses that block out 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation. Make sure you purchase sunglasses from a reputable outlet to avoid fake and defective shades.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet
Good eye health starts with the food on our plates. The best nutrient-rich diet for your eyes includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale. Other great sources of nutrition for our eyes include oily fish, flaxseeds, and edamame.
Consuming a healthy and balanced diet also helps us to maintain a healthy weight, lowering our odds of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
Too much alcohol can have a negative impact on our long-term eye health. It can increase your risk of developing conditions like age-related macular degeneration, optic neuropathy and cataracts. It also strips our bodies of the nutrients and minerals needed for our overall health.
Many of us are likely to be drinking more than usual over the festive period so it’s important to keep track of the amount of units you’re consuming. Alcohol can still be enjoyed in moderation with no adverse effects on our eyes, however sticking to the recommended units (14 units per week for both men and women) is best to avoid any long lasting damage.
Have regular eye check-ups
Having an eye checkup does more than just inform us on if we need new glasses or a change of prescription. Opticians can spot many general health problems and early signs of conditions before we notice anything, many of which can be treated if found early enough. The NHS recommends that we get your eyes tested every 2 years, or more often if advised by our practitioners.
Lenstore has also spoken to its expert optometrist expert, Roshi Patel, to explain how you can protect your vision from the environment this winter: ‘As the seasons change, the weather gets drier and humidity subsides. Though this may be a welcome relief for some, others may start to experience drier eyes than usual due to high winds and low humidity.
‘Some ways to help fight the effects of dry eyes in winter are by using over-the-counter artificial tears during the colder months to treat symptoms of dry eyes. Another way you can combat dry eyes in the winter is by switching to glasses rather than contact lenses, along with investing in a humidifier or an essential oil diffuser to help add moisture back into the air, which will help lubricate your eyes and ease the pain of them when dry.’