A guide to good eye health

As a general rule, we tend to take best care of the parts of the body we can see.

We wash our hair religiously, brush our teeth without compromise, bathe our skin in moisturiser, relax our muscles when they are sore.

Of course, this makes a lot of sense; it’s difficult to maintain something that’s hidden behind layers and layers of tissue (or clothes). Vital organs like our livers and intestines don’t make an appearance when we look at ourselves in the mirror in the morning, and so they’re easily forgotten or, quite simply, ignored.

The same can’t be said for our eyes, however. They present a unique conundrum because they are the very objects we use to see the rest of our body and the world. As a result, they too are often overlooked.

This is ironic when you consider that without our eyes we wouldn’t be able to see the other parts of the body we take so much time sculpting, pruning, tightening up, and softening down.

Along with our teeth, ears and skin, our eyes are members of a special and minority group of organs that are visible from the outside of the body. These useful markers have been used for millennia to determine everything from our physical and mental health to our spiritual and emotional well being.

Not only do your eyes say a lot about our health, but they create the image of the world around us; whether it be grainy, cloudy, washed out, or 4K Ultra HD. We’ve put this guide together to help keep your eyes in tip-top condition and ensure your vision is the best it can be.

Eating well for healthy eyes

Carrots and other orange-coloured fruits are the most well-known foods for promoting eye health. They contain beta-carotene, a type of Vitamin A that helps parts of the eye such as the retina function smoothly.

But beyond carrots, there are many other vitamins and minerals which are essential for maintaining healthy eyes. These include lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. According to Harvard Medical School, some of the best places you’ll find these nutrients are broccoli, flaxseed, apricots, almonds, and spinach. We recommend checking out their full list here.

It’s also important to consider intoxicants such as alcohol and tobacco are heavily documented for their negative effects on eye health. Heavy drinking, in particular, can disrupt the absorption of vitamins in the liver and result in impaired vision, while long-term smoking pretty much guarantees to increase your chances of developing cataracts and experiencing macular degeneration.

Protecting your eyes against damaging rays and material

We’ve evolved certain features such as the recesses our eyes sit in, our eyelashes, and our eyebrows, to protect our eyes from light rays and harmful matter

We’re also equipped with eyelids and a squint reflex that comes into play when we’re exposed to bright visible light. These mechanisms, however, are not enough to fully protect us from UV radiation — which can even be high on cloudy days. Checking the weather forecast for the level of UV radiation and grabbing a pair of glasses that protect against 99 per cent of UVA and UVB rays are the best ways to limit eye damage.

It’s no secret that UV radiation can damage our eyes, but less known are the negative effects of smoke and debris and other small particles in the air. Such irritants can quickly lead to inflammation and conjunctivitis which, if not managed, can become a threat to your sight. Wearing the appropriate eye protection for your environment and weather can help limit debris entering the eye.

Understanding how to work with screens

You can’t talk about eye health today without mentioning the use of screens. As much as we love our devices, our bodies aren’t designed for bending over and staring at them for hours and hours on end. And this clearly shows in the number of people who suffer from computer vision syndrome (CVS), otherwise known as digital eye strain.

One of the main causes of CVS is that when looking at screens, our blinking rate drops by half, resulting in your eyes becoming dry, fatigued, and strained. An effective way to avoid this is by adopting the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, stare at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This will not only give your eyes a rest and help reduce blurry vision, but also help manage headaches and facial, neck, and shoulder strain.

As with the other eye conditions we’ve mentioned, you should visit your eye doctor if you believe you are suffering from CVS. The best course of treatment is always prevention, and so checking in with your eye doctor should already be high on your list of priorities!

If you’d like to book a consultation with us or find out more about caring for your eyes, leave us a comment or give us a call us on 020 7224 1005.