It is Thursday on National eye health week 2019. Today we are going to share information on diet, physical activity and screen smart tips. All information used is from www.visionmatters.org.uk
Screen smart guide
Each of us spends an average of eight hours and 41 minutes a day on digital devices* so it’s probably no surprise that 90 per cent of computer users say they suffer from screen fatigue – headaches, sore or tired eyes and problems with close-up and long-distance vision.
By being Screen Smart you can help minimise your risk of suffering visual distress and keep your eyes feeling fresh and bright. Here are our quick tips to help minimise screen fatigue:
- If you have been prescribed eyewear for screen (VDU) use, make sure you wear it.
- Take frequent breaks – give your eyes a rest by following the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from your screen every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds and focus on objects 20 feet away!
- Create an eye-friendly environment – position copy documents at roughly the
same distance as your eyes are from the screen to avoid having to continually refocus, and minimise any glare or reflections.
- Customise your screen settings – position your monitor an arms length away and keep your eyes level with the top of the screen. Select a font size of 12pts or above and make sure you have a clean screen.
- Keep blinking! – Your blink rate can fall by up to 60 per cent when working at a screen.
- For an instant refresh try closing your eyes and rolling your eyeball around behind the closed lid.
And finally, make sure you have regular sight tests – once every two years unless your optometrist advises otherwise.
For more information visit www.visionmatters.org.uk
* source: Office for National Statistics
Physical Activity and eye health
Exercise is crucial for so many areas of our health, including our eye health.
Being physically active has been shown to reduce your risk of visual impairment by 58 per cent, compared to somebody with a sedentary lifestyle.
Regular exercise has been shown to increase antioxidant enzyme activity and increase resistance to oxidative stress. As well as being a key component to systemic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, oxidative stress can also increase your risk of many common eye conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – the UK’s leading cause of blindness, age-related cataracts and dry eye disease.
Our eyes need oxygen to stay healthy and comfortable, and physical activity plays a key role in this; aerobic exercise can help increase oxygen supplies to the optic nerve and lower any pressure that builds up in the eye.
This is important in terms of eye health, because reducing intraocular ‘eye’ pressure can help control conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
Regular exercise can also improve blood flow to the retina and the optic nerve and has been found to help prevent the progression of diabetes, which, in severe cases, can lead to diabetic retinopathy and total sight loss.
Public Health England (PHE) recommends that all adults aged 19 to 64 years should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, in bouts of 10 minutes or more every week.
The easiest way to approach this is to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise on at least five days each week. In terms of which exercises, brisk walks, cycling, dancing and swimming are all excellent ways to reduce intraocular pressure and maintain healthy eyes.
Diet - eat right for good sight
Most of us have no idea that what we eat can affect how well we see, however, eye-friendly nutrients found in many fruit and vegetables as well as fatty acids derived from fish, nuts and oils can all help protect your sight.
Cold water fish like cod, sardines and tuna are excellent sources of DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids. These provide structural support to cell membranes and can be beneficial for dry eyes and maintenance general eye health.
Blueberries and grapes contain anthocyanins, which may help with night vision.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale are rich in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin.
Lutein, meso-zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin form a yellow pigment that helps protect the macula – a tiny yellow spot in your retina – from excessive sun damage by acting as a natural sunblock.
Whole grains and avocados are rich in Vitamin B. Deficiency in complex B Vitamins may increase your risk of cataracts and retinopathy. Papaya is a good source of beta carotene which can help to prevent ‘free radical’ damage inside the eye. Eggs are rich in cysteine, sulfur, lecithin, amino acids and lutein. Sulfur may protect the lens of the eye from cataracts.
You should also ensure your alcohol intake is within Department of Health and Social Care recommended limits. Men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week - equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine. You should also have some days that are alcohol free.
Of course regular eye examinations are a must. Call our friendly team on 01775 713366 today to book your advanced eye examination.