New Years Resolution? Mind your Eyes!

This year choose to take of your vision as your 2018 new years resolution. No matter what your level of vision, it is vital to look after your eye health and protect whatever sight you do have. Check out some tips below for optimum eye health:

Have Regular Eye Tests
It is recommended that people have an eye test every two years. A regular eye test can identify any early indications of diseases, some of which are treatable if caught early. It is important to maximise any useful vision you have by wearing the best possible prescription, your optometrist can help you with this.

Don’t Smoke
Your eye is a complex organ that needs oxygen to survive; smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, so less oxygen reaches the eye. This causes oxidative stress and damages the retina and also causes cell death to retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. Smoking is a risk factor for developing age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Stopping smoking can stop or reverse damage to the eyes, depending on the severity of the condition. Passive or second-hand smoke also causes damage to the eye and should be avoided. You can find information about how to quit smoking at www.quit.ie.

Wear Sunglasses
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s rays can cause damage to your eyes. To reduce risks always wear sunglasses when in the sun. Check your shades have a UV factor rating and block 100 per cent of UV rays. Your sunglasses should carry the CE mark, which indicates that they meet European safety standards. Close-fitting wraparound glasses will block more light and offer better protection. Be aware that UV rays can still cause damage when it is cloudy and overcast.

Eat the Right Food
Some foods can help protect against certain eye conditions, like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, due to the specific nutrients they contain. These nutrients are called lutein or zeaxanthin, and are found in many fruits and vegetables including mango, squash, broccoli, green beans, and spinach.

Take Regular Screen Breaks
If you use a computer, take frequent breaks from your screen – at least once an hour. Resting your eyes can help you avoid headaches, eyestrain and soreness.

Know your Family Eye History
Many conditions causing sight loss are hereditary, it is important that if there is a history of sight loss in your family, you get assessed and checked. If you are clinically diagnosed with a genetic retinal condition you can have a genetic test through Target 5000 to try and establish the gene or genes responsible. For more information about Target 5000 telephone 01 6789 004 or email target5000@fightingblindness.ie

*If you are worried about your eye health, we strongly advise that you discuss all concerns and potential treatments with your doctor.

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