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Friday, 20 May 2016

The Eye Health Precautions You Don’t Take Seriously (But Should)

  • It’s all relative Know your family eye health history. Some eye conditions, such as glaucoma, can run in families. If people have a family history of these conditions it is particularly important that they have regular sight tests. The risk increases particularly for those aged over 40, and people of African Caribbean descent, who are up to six times more likely to develop glaucoma than white people, and develop it about 10 years younger than white people.
  • Wear sunglasses Whether it’s summer or winter, people should protect their eyes when it’s sunny, especially when they are in high glare areas such as near snow or water, as cumulative UV exposure may damage the eyes. Drivers particularly should keep a pair of sunglasses in the car as glare has been known to cause accidents on the road. Sunglasses should comply with the safety standard BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013, or be made by a reputable manufacturer and contain the CE mark. The CE mark is the manufacturer’s assurance that they meet European safety standards.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule Staring at a computer all day can cause headaches and dry, sore, gritty red eyes so follow the 20-20-20 rule: once you’ve been staring at the screen for 20 minutes, break for 20 seconds and look 20 feet away. If that’s not enough, because we blink much less when we concentrate, lubricant eye drops can help if your eyes get dry and they’re safe to use long term (as long as they’re not whitening or brightening, which can eventually make your eyes even more red).
  • Avoid dry eyes The symptoms of dry eyes can be mild or severe, and can include itchiness or scratchiness around your eyes, as well as blurred vision. There can be numerous causes and it’s best to visit your optometrist who can identify the cause. If you have dry eyes you can try to reduce the discomfort by lowering the temperature in rooms or using a humidifier as central heating can make the air dry. Also try to avoid smoky atmospheres as the smoke can irritate your eyes.
  • Quit smoking Smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to develop agerelated macular degeneration (AMD), and tend to develop it earlier than non-smokers. AMD can lead to blindness and is the leading cause of vision loss for people over the age of 50 in the Western world. Another concern is that smokers are more at risk of developing cataracts – a condition where the clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy or misty and can only be treated with surgery. Cigarette smoke may also break down other micronutrients critical to healthy eye tissues.
  • Wear your lenses as prescribed You should always wear any glasses or contact lenses, with the up-to-date prescription and as recommended by your optometrist. This is particularly important if you need them for driving, as otherwise you could invalidate your insurance and you may be breaking the law. if you wear contact lenses make sure you go for regular check-ups, don’t wear your lenses for longer than your contact lens practitioner has advised and don’t use different contact lens solutions without checking with your contact lens practitioner first.
The eye health precautions you don’t take seriously (but should)


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