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Eye Health Essentials

It is said that a person’s eyes are the windows to the soul, reflecting our emotions, our fears, our feelings and our thoughts and they allow us to experience the world around us. We take them for granted, we ignore that scratchy feeling when we are tired, we give them a quick rub and carry on, we expose them to more hours in the day than most of us care to admit to artificial light and most of us would certainly not think about how to nourish our eyes in the same way that we would think to nourish the rest of our body. In fact, we probably don’t think that much about our eyes until something goes wrong so here are a few “essentials” that might just help to safeguard the health of your eyes and keep those windows crystal clear.

Having a regular eye test might seem obvious for those of us not blessed with perfect vision and who wear glasses already but having your eyes checked periodically is not just about whether or not you need glasses, it can also detect potential issues and changes in your eyes in their early stages. So making time for a regular eye test is a great investment in protecting your eyesight.

Protect your eyes from UV rays and UVA in particular which are linked to the development of cataracts and other conditions such as macular degeneration. When you are choosing your next pair of sunglasses, it’s important that you not only choose a pair that look good but choose a pair that bear the “CE” mark. Non-prescription sunglasses should also meet British Standard BSEN1836:2005 and prescription sunglasses BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013 meaning that they will offer a safe level of UV protection. Remember that a darker lens does not necessarily mean a higher levels of protection so if you are going to be enjoying a lot of water sports or ski-ing for example, choose sunglasses with UV400 as these will block 90-100% of UV rays.

Step away from your screen and don’t wait for that scratchy, sore feeling to let you know that now is the time that you really should! Follow the 20-20-20 rule : every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and focus on an object 20 feet away – it works!

Reposition your workspace so that your laptop or computer screen is an arm’s length away and the top of the screen is at eye level – put your laptop on a stand if necessary. Try and position yourself so that there is minimal glare or reflections on the screen. Some people find that blue light blocking glasses can help if you must spend extended hours in front of a screen.

Veggies have super powers and whose parents used the “eat those carrots because you’ll be able to see in the dark just like Bugs Bunny” line in an attempt to convince you eat yours? Although it’s true that rabbits do have better night vision than humans this is mainly due to the structure of their eyes rather than the fact that they tend to eat more carrots than most humans! However, underestimate the power that carrots, and indeed most vegetables have over our eye health at your peril! Most orange-coloured vegetables such as carrots, squash and peppers contain beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A that helps our eyes adjust to darkness. Dark green leafy vegetables are a great source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that are essential for maintaining eye health. In fact, including some different coloured veggies in every meal, every day will go a long way to supporting your peppers, sorry peepers!

Don't rub! Itchy, scratchy eyes especially during the allergy season can be a real nuisance for many and the temptation is to rub and rub which might feel good to begin with but is a sure fire way to make the delicate tissues of the eyes even more inflamed and irritated. Using eye drops, a cold compress, a couple of cooled chamomile tea bags, some cold cucumber slices or a couple of chilled spoons placed on the eyes may bring some relief. Don’t touch your eyes without washing your hands first – rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands can introduce unwanted bacteria into them and no-one wants or needs an eye infection!

And stay hydrated – we say it over and over again and its as true for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body – dehydration can lead to discomfort and irritation so making sure that you are drinking enough will keep your eyes nicely lubricated and will support tear production.

If you have any worries or concerns about your eye health you should always seek the advice of your GP or an optician. Of course, the True Food Nutrition Team is always here to support and guide you and our complementary consultations are a great way to get the conversation about any of your health concerns started. Click here to book your call with Amanda, Nicci or Nicola and we look forward to speaking with you.

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