Are you struggling with eye strain? Do your teenagers stare at screens too much? You are not alone. It’s estimated 80% of us suffer from digital eye strain and there is increasing concern over the impact on long term eye health for adults and children.
Respondents to a recent survey in the US said going blind was ‘the worst thing that could happen’ to them, yet around 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK every day.
As a population we service our boilers more than our eyes yet there are so many conditions that can be detected and prevented from getting worse by getting an eye test, and there are foods and supplements you can add to your diet that help protect your eyes and support your vision.
High blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and even brain tumours can be detected in an eye test. Changes on the retina in children can also indicate conditions such as leukaemia. Have your and your children’s eyes checked by an optician at least once a year
Tips for better eye health
Eat foods rich in Carotenoids
Carotenoids are components of your ‘macular pigment’ which protect your retina, absorbing light and acting as a sunscreen, so it is essential for your eye health. To help prevent macular degeneration, eat dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, and fish including trout and salmon.
Eat foods rich in Omega 3, Zinc, Vitamins C & E
Good foods for eye health are those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, Zinc and Vitamins C and E. They are all especially good for our eyes because they can help protect against conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Omega-3 is an important fatty acid found in oily fish such as salmon and plant-based sources include seaweed and avocados.
Zinc can be found in brazil nuts and whole grains
Vitamins C and E are abundant in green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
Take supplements to support healthy vision and macular degeneration
Screen Eyes is formulated by experts to support your vision health. It provides carotenoids and essential vitamins, helping enrich the macular pigment in your eyes and protect against tired and sensitive eyes.
Smokers are up to four times as likely to suffer macular degeneration as non-smokers. So, if you value your eyesight – and who doesn’t – then quit smoking!
Too much constant glare, either from direct sunlight or water and snow, can result in an increased risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. That’s down to UV exposure which can damage the eyes over time. It’s not just the sun we have to protect our eyes from. Cyclists should wear glasses, so too should squash players and anyone else involved in sports which could lead to an eye injury.
Take regular screen breaks
Most of us have at some point experienced itchy, dry or sore eyes from continually sitting in front of a computer screen for hours. Also known as Digital Eye Strain (DES), it can lead to blurred vision, headaches and interfere with sleep. And, according to the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, staring at a phone, PC or tablet for too long can increase the risk of myopia (short sightedness).
Remember to take a break. Try to follow the 20/20 rule – regularly look away from your screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Better still, set your alarm to walk away from the screen every 30 mins for five minutes or more.
Embrace the outdoors
A couple of hours outside every day is good for your eye health. According to an Australian study, daylight helps slow down the speed of change in refractive error and axial length. If left to get worse myopia can lead to eye disease and eventually blindness.