Advice for a
Your eyesight is precious. Learn how to look after it properly and prevent eye health problems.
- PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DIET
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential to ensure good visual function. Vitamins A, C and E, minerals such as zinc and selenium, pigments such as lutein and zeaxanthin, and Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to ensure proper retinal function and delay ageing of ocular structures. These substances are found in vegetables, fruit, oily fish, seafood and nuts. Maintaining a healthy diet is also essential to avoid overweight and obesity, which are linked to diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure which, in turn, increase the risk of suffering from numerous eye problems.
- HAVE REGULAR CHECK-UPS
Having regular eye examinations ensures the early detection of eye diseases and can help to treat them effectively and slow down their progression.
- TAKE INTERMITTENT BREAKS
When doing work that requires you to look closely at a screen or document for long periods of time, it is recommendable to follow the 20/6/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 6 metres away for 20 seconds. This relaxes the accommodation and convergence of the eyes. For those who suffer from chronic dry eye, it is advisable to use a laptop rather than a desktop computer, since a smaller surface area of the eye will be exposed to evaporation when looking down.
- PRIORITISE YOUR SLEEP
Sleep is fundamental for regeneration of the epithelial cells that cover the inner surface of the eye. Not sleeping enough hours can slow down this process and hinder the natural daily recovery of the eyes. In addition, the relaxation of the eye muscles that takes place when we sleep helps rehydrate and clean the eyes, as well as helping them recover properly from the aggressions suffered throughout the day.
- ENSURE GOOD EYE HYGIENE
Eye hygiene is essential to maintain eye health and prevent possible infections. The most important measures that can be taken to maintain eye hygiene are: avoid touching or rubbing your eyes with your hands as much as possible, add eye cleaning to your daily routine and always use specific products that have been tested under dermatological and ophthalmological control.
If a foreign body, particle or chemical substance enters your eye, do not rub it and make sure you rinse it thoroughly with clean water and see an ophthalmologist.
If you wear contact lenses, make sure your hands are clean before handling them, and disinfect and change the lenses frequently.
- CONTROL THE LEVEL OF LIGHTING
Adequate lighting is essential to reduce visual fatigue. When reading, we must place the light source behind us and focus it on the book. When working with the computer or watching television, we must avoid light reflecting on the screen.
- ENJOY BEING OUTDOORS AND IN SUNLIGHT
According to various studies, spending time outdoors reduces the risk of myopia. Also, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one of the world’s leading ophthalmology associations, establishes that natural light is essential for the development of children’s eyes and that it has a protective effect on the eyes, reducing the risk of disease.
- EXERCISE REGULARLY
Regular exercise can reduce your chances of getting diseases that are closely linked to different eye problems. This is the case of diabetes, high blood pressure and hypercholesterolaemia. Eating healthily and exercising frequently therefore reduces the risk of suffering from eye diseases associated with these conditions.
- PROTECT YOUR EYES
It is important to protect your eyes properly against ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, even on cloudy days, as this causes acute and chronic alterations in all ocular structures. You must make sure your sunglasses have approved UV protection to ensure maximum protection for your eyes.
We must not forget that our eyes are also exposed to other agents that can result in serious damage. To avoid tears, trauma or other injuries caused by exposure to sand, dust, wind, chemicals or impact, it is important to make sure your eyes are well protected when you are doing certain activities such as riding a motorbike, doing certain sports, building activities or home repairs, or handling chemicals.
- DO NOT SMOKE
Although smoking is usually associated with lung, cardiovascular and oral diseases, smoking also increases the risk of serious eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). What is more, exposure to tobacco smoke can make the eyes more sensitive to irritation, conjunctivitis and dryness, with the risks that this entails.
- MAINTAIN GOOD EYE HYDRATION
Certain work habits (long periods focusing on a close point, exposure to screens, etc.) and exposure to air conditioning or heating mechanisms can affect the hydration of your eyes. When looking at a screen, book or document, the frequency and amplitude of blinking is usually reduced, causing the eye to dry out and producing irritation and pain. It is recommended that you drink water, take breaks (making sure you blink frequently) and use eye drops (if necessary).
- KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORY AND RISK FACTORS
Some eye diseases are hereditary, so it is important to find out if anyone in your family has had them. As the risk of suffering from certain eye diseases can also be associated with hereditary diseases such as diabetes, it is important to know your family history in relation to these conditions too. In general, but especially in the case of people who come from families where these diseases have been common, knowing and actively avoiding the risk factors that can favour their development and seeing your ophthalmologist regularly can significantly reduce the risk of suffering them.
- PAY ATTENTION TO CHANGES IN YOUR VISION
If you notice any vision problem, it is advisable to see your ophthalmologist to check your eye health.