You’re the picture of perfect health. You take good care of your body, with a balanced healthy diet and regular exercise. You understand the importance of hydration, and never fail to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. You never fail to get your 5 daily doses of fruit and veg, and while you still enjoy the odd indulgence, you still keep an eye on your calories and your macronutrients. You take great care of your teeth, brushing and flossing at least twice a day. You have a skin care regimen that helps you retain that gorgeous, natural healthy glow… You even make the time to get plenty of good quality sleep.
Still, even though you’re doing all that, there’s something that you’re neglecting. Two things, actually. Two things that work incredibly hard for you virtually every waking moment of the day… your eyes. Here we’ll look at how to look after your eyes and your vision with five things you need to know about eye health…
1. Be Mindful Of Changes
Those of us lucky enough to be born with good eyesight make sense of the world primarily through our reaction to visual stimuli. So we owe it to ourselves to be mindful of any changes to our vision. Even something seemingly innocuous like regularly seeing “floaters” or black spots in our peripheral vision could be a sign of a number of eye health conditions which may prove detrimental to our eyesight.
Any of the following can represent a good reason to see your optometrist. They may write it off as tired or overworked eyes, but they could identify it as a symptom of something more serious;
- Needing more light to read or work
- Finding reading (in books or on a screen) more difficult
- Your eyes starting to feel drier
- Your vision fluctuating in quality throughout the day
- Your side or peripheral vision starts to deteriorate
- Straight lines start to appear distorted or wavy
These can become increasingly common as we get older and may be early signs of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Some may also be symptoms of a previously undiagnosed astigmatism. This is nothing to worry about. It simply means that your eye is slightly more ovoid in shape than most and so it lets light in differently. As we get older our optic nerves and brains become less able to compensate for this, and so our vision may start to get blurry or distorted sometimes, especially when reading. If you regularly visit your optician they will pick up on these eye health conditions and will be able to advice on the best eyewear.
2. Wear Your Glasses
There’s an unfortunate myth that you can become over-reliant on your glasses, and that when you use them “too much” it can actually cause your vision to deteriorate when you’re not wearing them. But that’s simply not how your eyes work. If anything, not using your glasses can result in excessive eye strain which can result in sore eyes and headaches.
If your optometrist has told you that you need glasses and your optician has gone to the trouble of crafting a pair for you… you really should wear them.
Of course, not everyone is crazy about the way they look wearing glasses, but that is easily remedied. It’s just a case of taking the time to find the right frames. For instance, take a look at Ray Ban glasses for a classic style or Ace and Tate or Iolla for a more vintage look. The right frames can actually enhance your facial features and subtly change the shape of your face. In any case, failing to wear your glasses can create way more problems for your eye health than they solve for your appearance.
3. Limit Screen Time
For many of us, the use of computers, smartphones and tablets is an inevitable part of our day-to-day work lives. However, after staring at a screen for 8, 10 or even 12 hours a day while working, many of us plop ourselves down on the sofa to stare at another screen for a few more hours before calling it a night.
All this screen time is bad for us on a number of levels. For starters, the blue light emitted by our devices can interfere with your circadian rhythms and inhibit your body’s production of the hormone melatonin which makes you feel sleepy. So if you tend to end your day scrolling through your social feeds and watching funny Tik Tok videos, don’t be surprised if you struggle to nod off at night.
Moreover, there’s also evidence to suggest that blue light can be damaging to our eyes, particularly our retinas. This may exacerbate AMD. Just one more reason why you should routinely take a digital detox for the good on your mental and eye health.
4. Clean Up Your Diet
As in all health matters, your diet can play a part in your eye health. Getting plenty of nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and E and zinc are widely thought to be useful in keeping age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts at bay. The same goes for regular cardiovascular exercise. So make sure that you’re getting plenty of green leafy veggies like spinach and kale for vitamin C, lots of nuts and seeds for healthy fats and lots of lean protein (especially plant based proteins).
Let’s face it, even if your vision is perfect, it can only benefit your body when you get plenty of these nutritious foods into your diet.
5. Eye Health Is One More Reason To Quit Smoking
Finally, smoking can be damaging to your eyes in a number of ways. So this is one more in a long list of reasons why smokers should kick the habit once and for all. Smoking can also exacerbate a number of issues that lead to macular degeneration. Furthermore, years of smoking can do cumulative permanent damage to the optic nerves as well as increasing your risk of cataracts in later life. The younger you are, the better your chances of reversing the damage that cigarettes have done to your body, even if you’ve been smoking for years.
Your eyes work hard for you every day. So make sure you show them a bit of love as part of your healthy lifestyle.
Stay fabulous and healthy