Protecting your eyes is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, watching your weight and making sure you have your eyes checked regularly helps keep your vision in tip-top condition. But even more than this, protecting your eyes with these measures can also help in the detection of long-term health issues such as diabetes, which can lead to permanent eye damage. Part of maintaining good eye health requires protecting your eyes: 1) while you are traveling; 2) from sun exposure; 3) with eye fitness; 4) with eye safety; and 5) with dedication to a healthy diet.
Protecting Your Eyes – While Traveling
TRAVEL WITH CONTACT LENSES
Contact lenses take quite a lot of looking after, so if you wear them make sure that you take everything you need for the duration of your holiday. If you wear weekly lenses or monthly lenses, make sure you pack enough solution in your luggage (remember that liquids cannot be taken onto airplanes as hand luggage, so pack it in your main suitcase). It’s also a good idea to take at least one spare pair of contact lenses, as there’s nothing worse than loosing one lens and not having a back up to get you through the rest of your holiday! It’s also wise to make sure you have a pair of prescription glasses as well, to give your eyes a rest from the lenses during your break.
Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun
If you wear glasses, why not treat yourself to a pair of prescription sunglasses as well? These will protect your eyes from the glare of the sun without any loss of vision. If you’re driving your car, make sure you take your ordinary glasses for when you drive back in the dark; otherwise you may end up having to drive home in sunglasses. You protect your skin with sun lotion when on holiday, so don’t forget to protect your eyes against the sun too. Make sure when you are choosing a pair of sunglasses that they have 100% UV protection – as do all Sunglasses sold at Vision Express. A good pair of polarized sunglasses will not only filter out the harmful UV rays of the sun, which can be much more intense in more southerly locations than they are in the US; they also help to reduce glare when on the water or on sands, even just on wet roads At Optical Masters all of our kids premium glasses come with UV protection as standard.
KEEP YOUR EYES COMFORTABLE WHEN YOU TRAVEL
The re-circulated air in planes can often dry the surface of the eyes, making them uncomfortable, irritable and sore. So on long flights it may be advisable to remove your contact lenses for the duration of the flight and use an ordinary pair of prescription glasses. This will prevent your eyes from feeling tired and mean that you’re bright-eyed and ready to go when you step off the plane at your holiday destination.
AVOID EYE INFECTIONS
There’s a good chance that you’ll take part in some kind of water sports while away, so remember that water-borne bacteria can easily cause eye infections. If you’re planning to do a lot of swimming, we advise not to swim in contact lenses, and suggest a pair of swimming goggles (prescription if required) which will not only protect your eyes against water-borne infections, but also help to protect your eyes against the glare of the sun.
GIVE YOUR EYES A HOLIDAY
By taking a few precautions, you can give your eyes a holiday as well and enjoy your break safe in the knowledge that you’re protecting your most precious asset, your sight.
Protecting Your Eyes with Eye Fitness
The medical benefit to exercising your eyes is widely contested, which is why you may not have heard or read much about the subject, and yet you may be well aware or even own the popular game ‘Sight Training’ on the Nintendo DS. They do however benefit people where there is a known muscle imbalance, but unless prescribed by your eye doctor, our advice is therefore to treat eye exercises as a bit of fun that can give you a welcome break from your busy lifestyle. It is important however not to neglect your eye health by missing regular visits to your eye doctor.
If you’re a handyman or spend time in a workshop, eye protection is an important safety consideration. Any foreign body getting into the eye can cause damage very easily to the soft tissue of the eye and can lead to long-term sight problems. If your working environment is hazardous, make sure your employer provides adequate eye protection. It’s worth knowing that we have a good range of safety eyewear that can be made to your prescription available in-store.
VDU SCREENS – TAKING CARE OF YOUR EYES
Research has shown that prolonged use of computer monitors can lead to eyestrain. If your work involves long periods at a computer screen, make sure you take regular breaks to allow your eyes to relax. Check that the computer screen is at the correct height and that you are not straining your eyes to see the entire screen. Your eyes should naturally focus on the center of the screen. Also ensure that your lighting is sufficient to work by – fluorescent lights tend to ‘flicker’ at a very high resonance which can cause eye strain without the sufferer even realizing the cause of the problem. It is advised not to sit with a window directly in front or behind you to avoid glare and eyestrain. We recommend having Anti-Reflective (AR) coatings on your lenses available in-store.
ALLERGIES AND HAY FEVER
Summer can be a misery for those who suffer from Hay fever. Pollen in the atmosphere irritates the lungs, nasal passages and particularly the eyes, making them red and sore. If you suffer from allergies or hay fever, consult your GP who may be able to prescribe an antihistamine to reduce the reaction. Your eye doctor will also be able to give you advice on products designed to relieve sore or irritated eyes.
BEING SAFE WHILE DRIVING
Good eyesight isn’t just a matter of choice. If you drive any type of vehicle, US law states that you must be able to read a standard car number plate at a distance of 50 feet. If you can’t do this you are risking a fine and possible few points on your license. But more importantly you are potentially risking your own and other peoples’ lives. If you find yourself squinting to read road signs or car number plates, book an eye appointment to have your eyes checked immediately.
The damage that prolonged exposure can do to the skin is now a well-known fact, but did you know it can also damage your eyesight? Everyone knows the warnings against staring directly at the sun, but on bright days your eyes can be easily damaged by the glare of the sun. A good pair of polarized sunglasses or prescription sunglasses support protecting your eyes against harmful UV rays.
Our modern world is filled with chemicals, many of which can damage the delicate tissue of the eye. Common household cleaners can contain bleach or harsh abrasives, which can cause major tissue trauma if they get into the eye. If you do get a splash of a household cleaner in your eye, immediately wash the eye out with plenty of water and seek medical attention as quickly as possible. If you’re carrying out a major spring clean it may be a good idea to invest in a pair of glasses to avoid any accidents and to aid in protecting your eyes.
SPORTS – TAKING PRECAUTIONS
Sports such as football and soccer can easily throw up dirt and grit into the eyes, so while it may not be practical to wear eye protection, be aware of the possible dangers to your eyes when playing these sports. If you spend time swimming, the chlorine used in public baths can make the eyes sting, making them sore. A pair of swimming goggles is helpful for protecting your eyes against over-exposure to this harsh chemical – as such it is advisable not to swim in contact lenses.
Everyone knows that a healthy, balanced diet is good for your body, but it can also be good for your eyes as well. The old tale that eating carrots will help you see in the dark isn’t that far off the mark – carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which helps to protect against night blindness and cataracts they also contain lutein, a yellow plant pigment that lowers the risk of cataracts and protects the eyes against damage from aging. Eating a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables could help to protect your eyes and prevent eye problems/conditions that can eventually lead to permanent sight damage. Spinach, red peppers, leeks, peaches and blueberries all contain antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin which help to protect your eyes against age-related macular degeneration.
BEAT DRY EYES WITH OMEGA – 3
IOmega-3 has become a byword for healthy eating in recent years as people start to appreciate how important this essential fatty acid is in a healthy diet. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-3 rich fish could significantly reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 40%. Omega-3 can also help in the prevention of a condition known as ‘dry eye’. Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (in some cases), is a condition where the eyes do not make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, resulting in the eyes drying out and becoming sore and inflamed. If you suffer from this condition, including plenty of oily fish in your diet such as sardines, mackerel and tuna will ensure that you get a plentiful supply of Omega-3 and 6, which can help to preserve your eye sight. Flax Seed oil is also a good source for Omega-3 & 6.
DRINKING WATER IS GOOD FOR EYE HEALTH
The eye is surrounded by fluid tissue which fluid, and to maintain a healthy balance of fluid in the eye it is important to stay well hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can prevent both your body and your eyes from becoming dehydrated. Try to limit the amount of alcohol you drink, as this affects your liver and causes a drop in the level of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps protect against eye disease. Water is essential to healthy eyes. If you are following a balanced diet to help you watch your weight, you are benefiting your eyes as well. Obesity has been directly linked to the development of type-2 diabetes and one of the side-effects of this debilitating disease is the development of diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina).