Be Smart About Eye Health

By Shameela Parveen, Resident Optometrist, The Optician at seescape

Eyes are precious. It isn’t possible to examine them ourselves and know what goes on inside them, yet they can be the source of information for a lot of health related issues such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels, helping to diagnose conditions such as diabetes, or even point towards a diagnosis of MS and much, much, more.

Always have regular eye examinations even if you feel there are no problems, it is always best to have a check-up. We all attend regular dentist and doctors’ appointments, so why not the optician too?

Use sunglasses more often – not only when the sun is out. We live in Scotland and the weather can usually be gloomy, cloudy and rainy. Hence very few of us wear sunglasses or UV protection. However, the UV rays from the atmosphere are stronger up here – further north and especially when the atmosphere is a bright white sky. We should all aim to wear UV protection in the form of sunglasses, Multilens Biocovers, or filter glasses. An alternative is prescription polarising lenses to help reduce the glare for better viewing when outdoors but also for protection from harmful UV rays.

UV rays can cause damage to our eyes especially the lens, which can eventually change to a grumbling cataract or macula on the retina requiring attention. With age and accumulation of UV light the macula can start to deteriorate and wear down, affecting focus and crisp vision. This is for all ages from as young as 1 year old to the lovely elderly legends that live with us today.

No matter what age you are, sunglasses and UV protection are for us all. So get your little ones, your grown- ups, yourselves and your elders, and friends and family, all equipped with some cool, protective shades!

Eating lots of green leafy vegetables and oily fish at least 3 times a week helps. Eat your greens (spinach, broccoli, kale etc.) and oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines etc.) for healthy eyes. Not only will this give you longer lasting eye health and reduce the rate of progression of Macular Degeneration, it can help with people who have dry watery eyes by helping to restore some natural oil into our bodies for our skin and eyes.

Supplements can be taken for eye health care, but you are always better with the food on your plate, as the food is digested and your body, including your eyes, will benefit from the nutrients sooner than if you took expensive supplements. Regular supplements do work though.

Nutrients or supplements for good eye healthcare include vitamin A, C, E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, fish oils, omega 3 fatty acids and beta-carotene.

These mainly help ward off, or prolong the onset of age related visual problems or can help reduce the progression rate of such conditions, also keeping eyes healthy and cells nurtured at the back of the eye.

Clean your lids and lashes. Our lashes are made to trap and prevent any pollution or foreign particles entering our eyes. Over time this can cause a build-up of debris or tiny particles and sleep in the far parts of our lashes near the lid line, which can eventually cause gritty or sore eyes or even blepharitis ; a slight infection of the lid line due to the debris build-up. We should always, at least 2-3 times a week, clean lids / lashes with sterile solution:

  1. You will need a bowlful of boiled water cooled down to lukewarm level, add only a droplet of baby shampoo (not any other shampoo as this is PH friendly) to give the solution a little kick, and mix together.
  2. Using a cotton pad (not wool) and, closing the eye, cleanse the lash line with the soaked cotton pad right to left 2-3 times and then in a downwards motion following the growth direction of the lashes, to help remove any particles
  3. Repeat with a new cotton pad for each eye. Repeating this 2-3 times a week is good practice. Even once a week is better than never.

Concerned about your eye health? If you have any questions about eye health, or to make an appointment for an eye test, please contact The Optician at seescape on 01592 649 728.