1. Be sure to visit a good local optometrist at least every two years in adulthood, and for anyone with a relative who has glaucoma this should be every year from the age of 40.
2. Children should have their first eye test before they start school – this can drastically reduce the chances of developing a permanent untreatable lazy eye (amblyopia) in adulthood.
3. When contact lenses are not worn properly, they can be extremely dangerous, so be sure to be aware the following:
- Never purchase contact lenses online: always have them fitted and supplied by a reputable local Optometrist.
- Never wash your contact lenses in tap water, don't swim in contact lenses and don't shower in contact lenses: all of these activated can increase the chance of developing nasty infections.
- Never sleep in your contact lenses: this deprives the cornea of oxygen, which can cause it stress and, in some cases, damage.
4. It is not normal nor expected to lose vision as you age. There are many age-related diseases which can cause this (such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration) but many of these are treatable and so, if your vision is not what it used to be, you should seek help.
5. Avoid rubbing your eyes often and vigorously as this can permanently weaken the cornea and cause a condition known as keratoconus.
6. A diet rich in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, especially yellow peppers, sweetcorn, spinach and kale can help to reduce the chance of developing severe macular degeneration.
7. Computer use can make the eyes dry and uncomfortable. To avoid discomfort, lower the position of your computer screen and close your eyes for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Lastly, use a preservative-free artificial tears, such as Hycosan eye drops for a moisture boost.
8. Reduce the chances of dry eye and increase the quality of your tears (!) by taking flaxseed oil supplements and increasing omega-3 oils such as oily fish, into your diet.
9. Those who work in front of a screen all day may suffer from blocked oil ducts in their eyelids (meibomian gland dysfunction) which can cause sore, heavy, tired, gritty eyes. A good treatment for this is a hot compress over the closed eyelids for five to 10 minutes, three to four times a week. It refreshes the eye area instantly.
10. In the right hands, laser eye surgery is now safer than a lifetime of wearing contact lenses. The majority of people will experience better vision post-surgery than they did previously with glasses or contact lenses. However, always, always research your surgeon and clinic thoroughly and make sure you meet them in advance of having surgery.
11. Take extra care when removing eye make-up. Some eye make-up removers contain ingredients that have been known to clog pores, like petroleum jelly and mineral oil, which can cause discomfort, puffiness and irritate the entire eye area and may cause infection too.
12. In case you need another reason to quit, smoking causes harm to the tissue of the eye and doubles your chances of losing your sight, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People. In particular, it increases risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMC) and has been linked to the development of cataracts too.
For more information on eye health and laser surgery, contact www.oclondon.com