Okay, so I may be a little late off the starting blocks with this one, but it came to me in the form of a rush of blood to the brain this morning, and I thought it was a good idea for a blog post (this kind of “inspiration” hasn't happened to me for a long time!). I think it’s something that may be useful to those stuck at home during these crazy, crazy times? Be it working remotely from home, or on furlough, the break from your usual routine might be playing havoc with your eyes and here are my top five tips for keeping them happy and healthy during lockdown...
1. Give your eyes a break!
Computers; phones; tablets; TVs; handheld gaming devices. One thing is sure to have resulted from lockdown... more screen time! And as we know from a previous blog, this can leave your eyes feeling tired and strained. Spending a significant period of time (two or more hours) using any form of digital device, be it for work or play, puts an enormous strain on your eyes, and leaves them somewhat “fixated”...
This not only effects our blink rate and the quality of the tear film, which can cause Dry Eye, but can also lead to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), symptoms of which include eye strain and/or headaches, light sensitivity and double vision.
Remember the magical 20:20:20 rule – every 20 minutes, look away from your screen to a distance of approximately 20 feet for 20 seconds!
Also, if you have been advised to wear glasses for VDU use, etc - WEAR THEM!
2. Protection, protection, protection.
Let’s face it, lockdown would have been a whole different ball game if it had been typical “April showers”. Thankfully the weather has been glorious! But just remember, the sun, or rather the UV radiation from the sun, can be harmful to your eyes.
When we talk about UV protection, most people automatically think ‘sunglasses’, and that’s great, in the immortal words of the Spice Girls: “Put In On, Put In On”. However, it is important to understand that there is a difference between UV protection and sun protection. UV protection on your glasses reduces the amount of harmful UV radiation that enters the eye. Sun protection shades us from the brightness of the sun, much like sitting in the shade or wearing a hat. Confusion can arise because generally the two go hand in hand, in that most sunglasses offer some form of UV protection, however they are NOT mutually exclusive! It is important that you always check what you’re buying – look for the term “UV400” – this denotes that the lenses will absorb UV up to 400nm (the range considered to be harmful to the eyes!).
3. Feed those peepers 👀
In such scary and uncertain times, it’s easy to reach for anything from which we can garner some comfort, particularly in the form of food and alcohol (guilty ☝). But for those that do find the days and weeks (months?) all blurring in to one, stuck at home, day in, day out, why not use this time to pick up some good habits?! From following Joe Wicks’ daily exercise vlogs, to making sure you get your “5-a-day”.
Here’s a little reminder from my 'nutrition' blog of the best eye health boosting foods/supplements :-
Any “healthy diet” should contain a rich variety of fruits and vegetables. Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, collards and turnip greens, as well as orange/yellow vegetables and fruit, such as carrots (renowned for improving eyesight) and cantaloupe melon are rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Tomatoes – surprisingly processed tomatoes, such as canned or pureed – but also papaya and watermelon contain an abundance of Lycopene.
As far as fruit and veg go – the more colourful the selection, the better?!
Get your Vitamin C. Oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon are great for the supply of ‘Essential Fatty Acids’ – Omega 3 & 6, whilst evening primrose oil supplements are also indicated for sufferers of Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), especially poignant if point number 1 speaks to you?!
4. Treat them a little, make them feel special...
Just like it says on the tin, here are a few of my favourite things to give my eyes a little pick me up...
I cannot rate this product enough! For sore, tired eyes, it is the BOMB! (Do people even say that anymore?! 🤦🏻)
For that extra special little pick me up these "gel" eye masks really hit the spot:
On a similar but different note, I love this:
Especially as the gel looks like a little frog face when it is dispensed! (I wish I had photographic evidence of this so y’all don’t think I’m bonkers?! 🤪)
And finally, for some “staying in” glam...
5. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Perhaps most important this one. Although some practices have sadly been forced to close their doors during these unprecedented times, there are still Opticians out there, open for urgent and emergency eye care (Asda Opticians for one, #justsayin). There are certain symptoms that you should not ignore. These include…
- Flashing lights
- The sudden onset of a lot of floaters
- Recurrent bloodshot eyes
- A loss of, or blurred vision
- Sudden onset double vision
- Eye pain
- The feeling of a net curtain or cobweb in your vision
- Persistent headaches / migraines
- Problems with your contact lenses (pain, soreness, redness, visual changes)
This list is not exhaustive. If you’re worried about changes in your vision or eye health, please, please, please, do not be afraid to ask about it. This isn’t about panicking anyone, it’s about you guys knowing there are still professionals out there on the “front line” ready and waiting to give you advice if you are worried. Even if the result is them advising you to get your eyes tested when things get back to normal, whenever that may be. And as always, in the unlikely event that they do identify a problem, these things are always better caught early. So, you know, don’t be afraid to ask!
So there you have it. Just a fun little piece giving you tips on how to keep your eyes in tip-top condition during quarantine. Stay safe everyone.