8 Daily Habits to Preserve Your Eyesight
You only have two eyes. They are meant to last you for the rest of your life, and if you lose them, you don’t get another pair. Your eyesight is crucial for almost everything you do in life. You rely on it for everything from communication and entertainment to keeping yourself alive when crossing a busy road. Yet most people still take their vision for granted.
Around two million people in the UK suffer from poor eyesight. In many of these cases, their conditions are unavoidable, but a shocking statistic you may not know is that almost half of all cases are preventable.
Hopefully, this has shocked you into action and made you realise that your perfect eyesight is not a given. By making some lifestyle adjustments and taking more care with how you treat your eyes, you can preserve your vision for longer. Here are a few simple changes that you can make to your daily life that will help you keep your eyes healthy well into old age.
Book regular eye tests
Most people don’t get their eyes looked at until it is too late. They only book an appointment with an optician once their deteriorating vision has actually impacted their life. This makes it more difficult to prevent and treat problems, as the eyes will have begun to deteriorate well before the issue was spotted. By scheduling an eye test at regular intervals, you will be able to identify any sight issues before they occur. And not mean sight loss; an optician may be able to spot signs of broader health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or some forms of cancer. No matter how healthy you think your eyes are, you should have an eye test at least once every two years, or more often if your optician has recommended it.
Give your eyes a break
We are all guilty of spending too much time staring at screens, but this is one of the most unhealthy habits for your eyes. Prolonged exposure to the harsh lights emitted by screens can strain your eyes and make them dry and irritated, an effect worsened by the fact that we blink a lot less when focused on a screen. Cut down on unnecessary technology usage such as social media and watching television. If you have to use a computer for work, make sure you take regular breaks to give your eyes a rest. The easy-to-remember rule of 20 says you should take a break every 20 minutes to stare at something 20 feet (6 metres) away for 20 seconds.
Eat a healthy diet
What you put into your body has wide-ranging effects on all aspects of your health, and this includes the eyes. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet can preserve the longevity of your vision. Eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables will give you body vital nutrients to maintain eye health, while a diet rich in Omega-3 is particularly good at preventing your eyesight from deteriorating. Omega-3 can be found in foods such as oily fish, nuts and seeds.
Additionally, cutting down your alcohol consumption can massively reduce the risk of degenerative eye conditions, as well as being beneficial to all other aspects of your health. Aim to drink no more than ten units in any given week.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body, and it is just as bad for your eyesight as it is for your lungs. Smoking damages sensitive tissues in your eyes and has been proven to significantly increase the risk of developing eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Giving up smoking will benefit your health in so many ways, and your eyes will also thank you for it in later life.
Avoid UV rays
Spending time outdoors in warm weather can have a wonderful effect on our mental health, but it is essential to take proper precautions when venturing out into bright sunlight. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage our eyes, so wear UV-protection sunglasses at all times.
Straining your eyes to read and watch television is bad for your vision. If you are experiencing problems with your sight, it is best to start wearing corrective eyewear as soon as possible. Glasses or contact lenses will make it easier and more comfortable for you to enjoy everyday activities, as well as protecting your eyes against further degeneration.
Use eye protection
Eye protection is not just for the sun. If you regularly engage in activities that put your eyes at risk, you must take steps to protect yourself. Jobs that involve working with machinery, or hobbies such as DIY, gardening and cycling can all bring up dust and particles that can cause serious harm to your eyes. Wear protective goggles at all times if you feel there is even the slightest bit of risk. All it takes is one wayward splinter to ruin your eyesight permanently.
Change your eye makeup
It’s not a fact that many people are aware of, but your old mascara can be one of the biggest sources of harmful bacteria in the whole house. Microorganisms love to hang out in old cosmetics, and by dolling yourself up, you are transferring them directly into your eyes. Experts recommend that you throw out and replace your old eye makeup every three months. Although this might seem like an expensive and wasteful habit, compare this to the personal and financial costs of having corrective eye treatment later on in life. A good way to tell if bacteria are lurking in your makeup is to give it a sniff. Mascara will smell bad if it is infested, in the same way you can smell food that has gone off.
By looking after your eyes now, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of good vision for the rest of your life. All you need to do is adopt some simple habits each and every day. And the good news is, the majority of these eye-preserving tips will benefit your health in many other ways.