5 Top Tips To Improve Your Eye Health
Monday 19 September 2016

At the start of National Eye Health Awareness, Mr Saj Khan, Consultant Ophthalmologist offers his top tips on keeping your eyes healthy.

As your mother always says…

…prevention is better than cure

Although National Eye Health awareness week is a great way of reminding the nation that our eyes need to be looked after, we should not let it be something that joins the ‘gym membership’ pile of being actioned just for that one week of the year and then forgotten till the next campaign.

Many issues with eye health can be prevented or offset by taking some simple proactive steps before problems begin so lets look at a few things that you can do to help yourself.

Omega 3

Although well recognised to reduce inflammation within the body, particularly for its cardiovascular and joint benefits, high dose Omega 3 taken by mouth is also well proven to reduce inflammation around the eyelids and to improve the quality of tears produced by the body. Both elements contribute to the prevention/reduction of dry eye symptoms. As all omega 3 is not of equal quality, I recommend taking approximately 2000mg per day  of a good quality, re-esterified omega 3 supplement such as PRN Omega Eye from Scope Ophthalmics.

Age related macular degeneration (ARMD).

With constant advances in health care our populations are living longer – but with that comes a greater incidence of age related diseases. Although macular degeneration is a multifactorial condition, there are certain elements that can be influenced to reduce both the risk of development and also the risk of progression in those that already have the condition. Smoking is a well recognised risk factor for ARMD, so is yet another reason to give up the nicotine stick. People who have a good omega 3 intake also show a lower risk of ARMD, as do those who eat a diet high in vegetables and fruit, particularly dark green, leafy vegetables. Conversely, people who eat a lot of saturated fats have a higher risk of AMD.

UV exposure

Ultraviolet light exposure from the sun has been associated with multiple eye conditions including cataract, ARMD, and development of pterygium (the skin covering the white of the eye grows over the cornea -clear window at front of eye- causing loss of vision). A good quality pair of sunglasses with 100% UV protection will reduce the contribution of UV light to the development of these conditions.

The rule of 20s

In today’s modern society, many of us spend several hours a day performing concentration activities, be that reading, working at a computer or driving. When we concentrate our rate of blinking drops significantly and our eyes consequently dry out. This can manifest in many ways – redness, tiredness, blurring, itching, grittiness, watering, headaches etc. (also known as Digital Eye strain or Computer Vision Syndrome). To minimise the likelihood/frequency/severity of such symptoms, I advise my patients, where possible:

Every 20 minutes

For 20 seconds

Look at least 20 feet away

Blink 20 times

This will help to reduce the build up of dryness but also allows the focussing muscles within the eyes to rest – thereby enabling a longer period of comfortable activity.

Personal electronic devices

The blue light emitted by screens on mobile phones, tablets, and computers affect the body’s levels of melatonin, one of the hormones that controls your sleep/wake cycle. By avoiding looking at electronic devices within the last 30-60 minutes before bed can result in better quality sleep for longer which in turn improves your overall body health and fatigue levels.

If you or a family member have any concerns relating to eye health you may wish to seek further information from Mr Saj Khan, Consultant Ophthalmologist, to book an appointment please contact us either online or by calling 0800 0468036.

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