By Mr Shafiq Rehman, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon atOptegra Eye Health Care
Sight is the sense that we value the most yet so many of us take it for granted. Lockdown meant more time at home,often in front of a screen for work, shopping or socialising, and this change in lifestyle has shone a light on how well we can, or can’t,see.
Quality of life is often linked to quality of vision– blurry eyesight can lead to a lack of confidence or stop us continuing with hobbies we love. 96 per cent of optometrists and opticians surveyed by Optegra said patients can be quite distressed when poor vision affects lifestyle.
So how can we do to support our eye health?
We all know that eating a balanced diet containing plenty of fruit and veg is good for our overall health and wellbeing but few know it is also important for our eyes. Vision can benefit from the antioxidants and nutrients contained within certain foods.
A simple rule to follow is the traffic light diet – eating red, amber (well, orange/yellow) and green foods can boost our supply of essential vitamins and minerals, plus it could prevent the early onset of cataracts and other eye conditions.
So foods to add to your shopping list include:
- Red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and salmon – the antioxidant properties in Vitamin C help prevent or delay the onset of cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Salmon also contains lots of Omega-3 to help prevent dry eyes.
- Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and carrots – Beta Carotene is the chemical nutrient that assists with maintaining good vision and citrus fruits are also full of Vitamin C.
- Kale, spinach, lettuce, broccoli and avocado –these foods contain lutein and zeaxanthin which reduce the amount of damaging light to the eye and can help reduce or slow the progression of AMD.
Eye spy with my little eye… something beginning with S.
Symptoms, signs, signals – anything that tells you something might be changing with regards to your eyesight. As with other health conditions, the earlier you can detect a potential problem with your vision the easier it is to treat.
Symptoms may vary depending on age but ‘red flags’ to be aware of include:
- Straining to see small screen technology
- Rubbing your eyes frequently
- Headaches or migraines
- Blurring of central vision
- Straight lines appear blurry
- Clouding of vision
- Gritty, sore or tired eyes
These could be signs of eye strain or something more serious such as glaucoma or AMD, so it’s important to have a regular eye test which can easily detect any problems.
Anyone for yoga?
Eye yoga that is. Sounds strange doesn’t it but we exercise our bodies to keep them fit and strong so why not our eyes too?
Eye yoga can strengthen the eye muscles that allow you to maintain good eyesight. It can also improve the flexibility in these muscles and help you focus better whilst minimising eye strain and allowing your eyes to work more efficiently.
However, eye yoga cannot correct eye problems – if you need glasses for distance vision or if there is a need for glasses for reading, there’s no way you can anatomically change the shape or the function of your eye by performing an exercise. But it is something fun to keep your eyes feeling fresh and rested.
Want to give it a go? Here are three exercises to try at home:
- Keeping your head still, look up as far as you can, then go back to the middle, then down, and back to the middle. Then move your eyes slowly to the left and the right.
- Follow a figure of eight shape with your eyes – repeat this slowly three times.
- Sit up straight and keep your shoulders relaxed, look straight ahead. Blink your eyes very fast for 10-15 seconds. Gently allow your eyes to close, settle and soften.
Eye health advice
The best thing you can do for your eyes is treat them like any other part of your body – nourished with good food, rested from regular screen time and maintained with regular eye tests.
New eye health report
To find out much more about eye health and steps you can take to protect your vision, check out our brand new Vision of Britain report available for you to download for free, and bursting with advice and practical tips to keep your eyes safe.
For more information on all things eye health plus advise on vision correction and medical treatments please visit www.Optegra.comor call 0800 077 3272.