How to protect your eyes from UV damage

28 May
So many memories are visual, and when we look back at fond times there’s almost always a picture that goes with it. If you lose a camera, you can replace it, but you can’t replace your eyes, making your sight priceless! So, let’s keep your vision as clear as it can be so you can make the most of your days.

We live to look after your eyes, but we need you to take some time to look after yourself too! You’re busy, and there are a thousand other things to do, but you deserve a little care as well, so here are five fast things you can do to keep your eyes at their best for years to come.

Tip 1 - Know your family’s eye health history

When your doctor asks about your family history, it’s to ascertain whether or not you’re more likely to contract or develop certain conditions. It’s the same for optometry, if your parents or grandparents have had conditions such as glaucoma, let us know!

Taking 15 minutes to discover your family’s eye history helps us keep an eye on small things like eye strain, or blurring in your distance vision. Small signs that can help prevent issues down the line. If left unchecked, these conditions can do anything from slightly affect your peripheral vision, to making you completely blind. But, don’t panic! Often, these conditions can be easily treated or managed and have very little impact on your day to day life — but the earlier we know of these conditions, the more we can be on the lookout for.

Tips 2 - Eat right for your sight

You’ve heard the phrase, “you are what you eat” and it’s as true for your eyes as any other part of your body. Every minute of every day the cells in your body are growing up, breaking down, and eventually being replaced by brand new ones. What are you building your cells with? If you’re already enjoying a balanced diet, you’re most of the way there, but of course, there’s always something more to do. Here are the vitamins that your eyes crave, and a few eyesight superfoods to feature in your week.

Omega-3 which helps combat dry eyes
Oily fish that are high in Omega-3 e.g. tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines

Vitamin E which helps to protect the eyes from age related damage
Nuts and legumes such as: walnuts, cashews, peanuts and lentils

Vitamin C an antioxidant that also helps combat age-related eye health issues
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, as well as citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruit are all high in Vitamin C.

Vitamin A and Beta Carotene.
Vitamin A is vital for your vision, it is a component of a protein called rhodopsin which helps the retina to absorb light. Beta carotene’s exact role in vision is mixed, but the body needs this nutrient in order to be able to make Vitamin A. Carrots and sweet potatoes are both rich in vitamins A, E and beta carotene.

Beef is rich in zinc which studies have linked to eye health longevity. Chicken breast and pork loin also contain zinc, but at lower levels.

Tip 3 – Swap out your eye makeup and clean your brushes

How old is your favourite mascara? As your cosmetics age, they’re more likely to pick up harmful bacteria that can upset your eyes. Disposing of your eye makeup 6 months after opening it will help reduce the amount of bacteria your eyes comes into contact with, so they can feel as good as you look.

Your makeup brushes can also be working against you, as residues and powders build up over time. This can be easily combatted with a weekly wash using a makeup brush cleaner, or even baby shampoo! Then all you need to do is leave them to airdry, and they’re as good as new – they’re also better applicators when clean too.

Tip 4 - Invest in UV protection

You already know not to look into the sun, but we’re constantly bombarded with UV rays. A bright winter day, or a long afternoon in the garden seems harmless, but a little extra protection is never a bad thing. There’s no such thing as sunscreen for your eyes, but investing in a high quality UV clear coating on your lenses can reduce the UV rays affecting your eyes by up to 100%!

Tip 5 - Give your eyes a break

We spend more of our lives looking at screens than ever before, at work, at home, it’s almost impossible to avoid screens in our modern world. But our eyes need a rest, and probably far more often than you’re giving them one! We could (and will) write another blog entirely about why you should curb your screen time, but to start, here’s the 20/20/20 rule.

For every 20 minutes that you spend looking at a screen, spend 20 seconds looking at something that’s 20 feet away. This gives your eyes time to refocus and relax. So stop reading this and do that now!