The ability to see is something many of us take for granted, but few of us realise just how harmful everyday activities such as using a computer for a long period of time or going outside without suitable sunglasses on a very sunny day can actually be. Let’s take a look at our 5 top tips on how you can improve your optical health and preserve your precious eyesight:

1. Reduce your screen time

In the past, screen time was associated with television, but thanks to an increasingly digital world, most of us are spending a large proportion of our day looking at our smartphones, tablets and computer screens. The main problem with starting at a screen for hours on end is that we reduce the number of times we blink per minute. Whereas you would usually blink between 20 and 30 times per minute, if you’re stating intently at a screen, chances are you could only be blinking 3 or 4 times. This causes the eyes to become very dry and irritated, making them sore and uncomfortable.

If you are required to spend a large amount of time looking at a screen each day, be sure to look away from the screen at an object 20 feet away on a regular basis, and try to make a conscious effort to blink more frequently.

2. Wear good quality sunglasses

It may not be the time of year to be wearing summer clothes, but the sun’s rays can still be damaging, even during the winter months. Be sure to wear sunglasses which have complete UVA/UVB protection and use them when driving or out in the fresh air when the sun is particularly bright. Sun damage is often irreparable so prevention is key.

3. Practise good hygiene routines

Not removing contact lenses before going to sleep or going to bed with make-up still intact can cause painful corneal infections, but these are easily avoided simply by following good hygiene practises. Sharing eye make-up products with other people can also spread infection, and make-up brushes should be washed in warm soapy water once a month. To maintain excellent eye health, be sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes or the delicate area surrounding your eyes. Follow the instructions carefully when applying or removing contact lenses and be sure to remove any traces of makeup before going to bed.

4. Stop smoking

We all know that smoking can cause all manner of horrendous diseases, but it can also affect eye health, too. Research has proven that smokers are more susceptible to cataracts, glaucoma, Dry Eye syndrome, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. Quitting smoking can reverse these risks, allowing patients to take their health into their own hands.

5. Eye tests

It goes without saying that we highly recommend having a regular eye test in order to maintain your optical health. Most patients only require a test once every two years, but if your optician recommends you have one more frequently, it’s really important that you do. Your eye test won’t just check your vision and whether you need to wear glasses or not, but it will also:

  • examine cross-sectional layers of the retina to help to diagnose macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy
  • take digital retinal photographs to help to detect glaucoma and retinal detachments
  • assess the potential presence of blind spots which could indicate neurological conditions
  • screen for glaucoma

Our sight is one of the senses which many of us assume will work effectively until old age, but it’s vital to remember there are key steps we can take to prevent our eyes from becoming damaged. If you are due an eye test or you wish to find out more about how you can protect your eyes, contact the Tunnell Vision team on 01905 613020.