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National Eye Health Week: 8 Expert Tips to Protect Your Vision

Caffeine and diet: Are your everyday habits damaging your eyesight?

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National Eye Health Week: 8 Expert Tips to Protect Your Vision

(PRESS RELEASE) There are countless day-to-day habits that affect our sight without us realising, from staring at screens to drinking too much coffee – and even the makeup we wear.

At Lenstore we have analysed the top eight every day easily controllable habits that affect our vision and discuss with the help of expert Roshni Patel BSC (Hons) MCOptom how we can prevent this becoming a future problem.

  1. Rubbing your eyes may feel satisfying when they’re tired or they itch, but it can be a cause of damage in the long term. Roshni explains how this can be a risk for keratoconus; as you rub your eyes, the structure of the cornea can weaken and can no longer hold the shape, instead starting to bulge outwards into a cone. This two-minute video clarifies what happens when you rub your eyes.
  2. If you are a contact lens wearer, you might be familiar with the unpleasant sensation of waking up with lenses still in your eyes. This can cause not only irritation but also damage if the lens isn’t designed to be worn overnight, as the material dries out and can scratch your cornea, as well as prevent the free flow of oxygen to your eyes, leaving them achy and strained. Roshni explains:
    ‘Wearing lenses overnight can cause damage to your eyes and eyesight due to oxygen deprivation to the cornea, leading to blood vessel growth (neovascularization). The otherwise transparent cornea can become hazy as a result leading to reduced vision. A compromised cornea also means increased risk of infection and corneal ulcers’.
    To avoid leaving contact lenses in, try using a reminder on your phone to remove them – especially after a night out when you might be more likely to forget.
  3. Showering and swimming in contact lenses may seem harmless, especially if you keep your eyes closed, however, it significantly increases the risk of eye infections, mainly ‘acanthamoeba and microbial keratitis’. If you do need to wear lenses while swimming, it’s recommended that you use daily disposables and remove and throw them away as soon as possible. Reusable contact lenses should not be worn underwater at all, as it can cause bacteria and germs to multiply on the lens and pose a risk to your vision. If you’re planning on swimming, it’s possible to get prescription goggles which are better suited to the purpose and will assist in avoiding eye infections.
    Although, during the autumn and winter contacts can be helpful to everyday life. As rainfall increases wearing contacts avoids constant raindrops on your glasses blurring your vision. You don’t have to worry about the faff of wiping the drops away and keeping your glasses clean.
  4. We live in a world of technology, and many of us find ourselves looking at screens for a number of hours each day. With many of the country now working from home, there’s often no break between using our work computer screens, going on our phones, and watching TV in the evenings. By the end of the day, it’s easy for eyes to become tired and strained. Take regular breaks away from the screen to give your eyes and yourself a break.
  5. During the colder months while playing sports or even doing some light gardening, eye protection is vital for preventing long-term damage. Protective gear in contact sports such as rugby and lacrosse can also help prevent hits to the eyes. Consider wearing contacts during sports to make wearing this gear easier.
    ‘I had a patient that came in once with a really sore eye that had persisted for days, and not getting any better. Turned out they had been gardening without any eye protection, and unfortunately had garden material embedded in their cornea, from mowing the lawn. Strangely they had not felt the impact as it happened but developed the irritation after a few hours.’
    ‘There are other risks to gardening, I had another patient who was weeding and as they went to stand up, scratched their eye on a plant. Luckily for this patient, it was a case of a bad corneal abrasion, however there is a risk of fungal keratitis, which can be sight threatening.’
    ‘Should you feel any irritation after gardening, avoid rubbing the eye, irrigate using saline or lubricating drops, and contact your optician immediately.’
  6. Barely able to open your eyes till you’ve had that first drink of tea or coffee? Results are now showing that caffeine can affect your short term vision. The longer you excessively drink caffeine, the more serious and longer lasting the effects become, and it can even increase your risk of developing glaucoma. Among the most common side effects is your heart rate increasing, which leads to blurred vision and twitchy eyes. Try to lessen your caffeine intake and use more natural remedies to support your energy needs.
  7. Your eyes and the skin around your eyes are very delicate, so you’ve got to be careful what makeup you use or irritations can occur. Eye infections can occur if you do not regularly replace your eye makeup – especially mascara, as it goes directly on the lashes. Did you know it’s recommended to discard mascara 2-4 months after use? Disregarding this can lead to a buildup of bacteria, mould and yeast, which commonly lead to styes, an infection of the eye. Swelling and discharge can also occur. Before putting on or removing makeup, make sure to wash your hands. This is also an important tip before you apply any contact lenses to avoid any bacteria reaching the eye.
  8. Both smoking and your diet can have significant effects on your eyes and your vision. Many of the fumes that come from smoking are ‘poisonous to ocular tissues, affecting the eyes mainly through ischemic or oxidative mechanisms’ – meaning maintaining the habit can all lead to the acceleration of eye damage, and ultimately blindness. As for diet, food with high-fat levels can increase the chance of high cholesterol, known to affect the eyes and a generally poor diet – particularly ones high in sugar – can lead to higher chances of diabetic retinopathy, in those who are diabetic.

SPONSORED VIDEO

SPONSORED BY ESSILOR

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