The EYES have it! Drinking, smoking and not getting enough vitamins can all harm your vision – here’s how to protect this vital sense
Ad Feature by Vision Express
From the moment we wake up until the time we go to bed, our eyes are working hard to make life extra special for us.
And they bring us nothing but joy; whether it’s helping us see our loved ones’ faces and watching our children playing or admiring beautiful views and catching up with our favourite TV programmes.
Being without them is unthinkable.
From the moment we wake up until the time we go to bed, our eyes are working hard
Despite this, good eyesight is something most of us take for granted. Yet every day 300 people in this country are diagnosed with macular disease, the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK – and it’s set to rise dramatically. Yet there’s no cure.
But the great news is there are plenty of easy things you can do every day to help keep your vision healthy.
Quit the ciggies
Smoking harms eye tissue so quitting can help prevent damage. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop the most common form of macular disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD – see below). They’re also diagnosed earlier than most.
Smoking is also linked to cataracts and can make diabetes-related sight problems worse.
Good eyesight is something most of us take for granted
Our eyes contain a lot of fluid which protects them by washing away debris and dust every time we blink. To maintain this, it’s important to drink plenty of water. But stay away from too much alcohol as it decreases your levels of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps protect against eye disease.
Feast on fruit and veg
Like the rest of our bodies, our eyes need good nutrition to stay in peak condition. So try getting more of these in your diet:
Keeping the nation’s eyes healthy
To celebrate National Eye Health Week, Vision Express is donating £3 for every eye test they do in September to the Macular Society for vital research into beating macular disease, the UK’s number one cause of sight loss.
Fill up on veg that contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which can help protect your eyes against AMD. So pick leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach as well as broccoli, red peppers and leeks. Lutein also helps protect eyes from ageing.
Carrots are worth a special mention because when your mum told you eating them would help you see in the dark, she wasn’t far off! The old wives’ tale comes from the veg being rich in beta-carotene which helps to protect against night blindness and cataracts.
Oranges, lemons, limes and other citrus fruit contain stacks of vitamin C which is essential for good vision. It helps keep the blood vessels in your eyes healthy and can combat the development of cataracts and AMD.
This fantastic fatty acid can reduce the risk of AMD significantly and also help prevent a condition called dry eye – where not enough tears are made or they evaporate too quickly.
It’s found in oily fish like mackerel, tuna and salmon, seeds including chia and flax, soybeans and walnuts.
Step away from the screens
Staring at screens for long periods of time can lead to headaches and dry and gritty eyes
During lockdown, many of us became squared-eyed as we were spending so much time watching TV and on the computer. In fact, we spend an average of eight hours a day staring at screens.
This can lead to eye discomfort, headaches and dry and gritty eyes so it’s important to step away from them occasionally to prevent any harm.
To prevent fatigue, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, make sure you look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
UVA and UVB rays may cause cataracts so make sure you put on a pair of sunglasses
Physically protecting your eyes from danger is also necessary. When you’re out in bright light, put on a pair of sunglasses that protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays which may cause cataracts.
And if you’re a DIY fan or work in a workshop, remember your safety goggles to stop anything flying into your eye and damaging the soft tissue.
Book a test
It is essential to have your eyes tested every couple of years
One of the most important things you can do to keep your vision as good as possible is to have your eyes tested every two years.
Opticians aren’t just trained to give you glasses, they can spot conditions like AMD, cataracts and glaucoma – which has no symptoms – early and arrange any treatment available.
To book an eye test, go in store, call 0800 038 2177 or go online to visionexpress.com
What is Macular Disease?
Around 1.5m people in the UK are living with macular disease – that’s more than with dementia. Around 600,000 have the most common form – age-related macular degeneration, which tends to affect the over-50s.
There is no cure.
The macula is part of the retina in the eye which is responsible for all our central vision, most of our colour vision and the fine detail we see.
Without it, vision becomes blurry, making it difficult to read, drive and recognise people so the condition doesn’t just steal our sight, it also takes our confidence and ability to do things we love.
The Macular Society funds world-class research to find new treatments, and ultimately a cure, for this devastating condition. Since 1987, it’s spent more than £5m on 73 different research projects.
This month they’ll receive a £3 donation for every eye test carried out by Vision Express.
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