World Sight Day 2017 takes place this year on Thursday, October 12, providing the perfect reminder to take a review of your own eye health.
Here we round some expert tips on how we can all take steps each day to protect our sight and look after eye health.
Eat eye-healthy foods
A nutritious diet has benefits for all types of health conditions, but some foods are particularly beneficial for eyes. Fatty fish such as tuna, herring or sardines are rich in omega-3 which nourish the cell membranes of nerve cells, including the retina, and help prevent the onset of eye diseases linked to aging. Including fruits and vegetables in your diet, especially clementines, oranges and mandarins, blueberries, carrots, and spinach, and broccoli, can also boost eye health thanks to being rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C, which help protect the cornea and lens of the eye, prevent cataracts, and prevent eye fatigue.
Associate Professor Scott Read from Queensland University of Technology, Australia, says spending more time in natural light is one of his top five everyday tips for keeping your eyes healthy. Heading outdoors will give eyes a chance to focus on things further away and have a rest from close-up work, and it also exposes our eyes to brighter outdoor light which appears to reduce our risks of developing short-sightedness (myopia.) He also adds that ideally, children should spend at least two hours a day outside to help prevent the condition from developing and progressing.
Kicking the habit can have a positive effect on all areas of health, but Professor Read explains that quitting smoking is also important for eye health. Smoking increases the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and damage to your optic nerve. It also helps maintain a healthy weight which reduces the risk of diabetes, which can also cause eye problems.
Get regular checkups
Professor Read also says that getting to know your own and your family’s eye health history is important so make sure you go for regular checkups, especially if there are hereditary eye conditions.
Marcela Frazier from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA, also recommends watching out for any eye problems in kids, which can become more noticeable once they start school. She advises looking out for any complaints of headaches, being tired after reading, squinting, holding books close to the eyes, and even poor school and sports performance, which can all be a result of changes in vision.
Reduce screen time
According to a report by The Vision Council, 93.3 percent of Americans spend two or more hours every day on digital devices for work or play, which is resulting in “digital eye strain,” a condition which causes “temporary physical discomfort” after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.
To avoid the condition, which can result in redness, irritation, dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, back and neck pain and headaches, experts recommend taking regular screen breaks, and also adjusting things like text size, posture, and computer setup.