Why should I look after my eyes?

Information on why you should get your eyes checked and what you can do to keep your eyes healthy.

Why should I get my eyes checked?: 

Getting your eyes tested is about making sure your eyes are healthy! These tests can pick up on any eye conditions that, if caught early enough, can be treated.

A sight test will identify what your level of vision is and whether you need glasses to correct your vision. 

The test will ensure your eyes are being cared for in the best possible way and you can book an appointment at your local high street opticians! It is recommended by the NHS that you get your eyes tested every two years. 

During a test, your eyes and the area around them will be examined to look for injury, disease or abnormality. Some conditions that can affect your eyes and could be picked up in a test include; glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes. 

For more information on why eye tests are important visit the NHS Choices website. 

What effect can a computer screen have on my eyes?: 

Ever had sore eyes after playing on your X-Box too long or playing a game on your PC?

One of the biggest things to affect our eyes is the amount of time we spend looking at a computer screen, be it talking to our friends on social media, browsing the internet or writing an essay on Word!

Computer Vision Syndrome is the name given to the symptoms that occur when you stare at a computer screen for too long! 

Damage can be caused by sitting too close to a computer screen, poor lighting and/or glare from the computer screen. The symptoms include;

  • Eyestrain,
  • Headaches,
  • Blurred vision,
  • Dry eyes,
  • Neck and shoulder pain due to how close you are sitting to the screen.

If you are looking at a computer screen for a long period of time there are a few things you can do to keep your eyes healthy!

  • Take lots of breaks from looking at the screen. Try to rest your eyes for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes you are looking at a screen!
  • Have your monitor an arm’s length away your body and always use font 12 or more to avoid straining. 
  • Remember to keep blinking! The number of blinks you do when looking at a screen can fall by 400%, so keep blinking to ensure your eyes aren't strained!

What effect does drinking, smoking and having healthy diet have on my eyes?: 

High alcohol consumption increases the risk of early age-related macular degeneration. Keeping to the recommended daily limits of 3-4 units for men and 2-3 for women will reduce the risk of having problems with your eyes.

For more information on the other long term effects of drinking too much alcohol, visit our article on 'Drinking alcohol: What are the long term effects on my health?'.

Meanwhile, people who smoke are more likely to develop cataracts and macular degeneration (gradual loss of the ability to see what is directly in front of you) than those who don't smoke. For more information on giving up smoking visit our page on 'How can I quit smoking?'.

Eating a healthy balanced diet with fruit and vegetables is not only good for your long term general health, but will keep your retina healthy too! For some top tips on eating a balanced diet visit our page on 'Healthy Eating'.

Why protecting your eyes from the sun is important: 

When the sun is out wearing sunglasses may not be your top priority when you are wanting to go out and and bathe in the glorious sunshine, but UV rays can do considerable damage if your eyes are exposed. 

Studies have shown that when your eyes are exposed to the suns rays damage is done to the cataracts. This can have a damaging effect on your eyesight and can even lead to future blindness!

It is recommended that you invest in a pair of sunglasses to be prepared for the sunshine. If you are buying sunglasses look for glasses which carry the 'CE' mark and the British Standard BS EN 1836:2005 to ensure a safe level of ultraviolet protection.

What conditions can affect eyes?: 

Short-sighted (myopia): If you are short-sighted then this means you can see close up but far away things become blurry. This can be because your eyeball is too long.

Long-sighted (hypermetropia): If you are long-sighted then this means you can see far away but not things become blurry when close up. This can be because the eyeball is too short.

Glaucoma- this is a group of conditions that affect vision. Vision is lost from the outer edge of the eye and then works it's way inward.  People with this condition often don't notice it developing but it can be picked up in eye tests.