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Simple tips for healthy eyes this #EyeWeek

Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Here are a few simple steps to maintaining healthy eyes:

Having a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure how healthy your eyes are, and how good your vision is. In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.

During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. This enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you’re seeing your best.

Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.

Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy. Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.

Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity.

Quit smoking or never start. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.

Wearing sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.

Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly. To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.

Are you experiencing eye problems?

If you have a recent problem with your eyes – such as sore eyes, red eyes or visual disturbance – you can be assessed and treated by our local  Minor Eye Conditions service.    document Download this leaflet for a full list of services (180 KB) .

Have your say about eye services

Ophthalmology Services, or services that take care of your eyes, are provided in a secondary care setting, like a hospital, or in the community, like your doctors surgery. When the service is community based it is aimed specifically at providing care closer to home. A community service is provided to patients suffering from a range of eye conditions and is intended to be a triage and treat clinic.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) would like to gather the views from people who have used these services, or people expected to use these services, to find out what is important to you when access ophthalmology services. We invite you to share your views on an online survey - https://tinyurl.com/SAS-Ophthalmology-Survey.

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