You might not realise it, but specific elements of your lifestyle such as diet, the amount you sleep and smoking can all affect your eye health.
Antioxidants and other important nutrients can help maintain eye health. The most common ones are beta-carotene, bioflavonoids, omega-3 oils, zinc, and vitamins A, C, D and E.
Beta-carotene can help to reduce the progression of macular degeneration and is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and butternut squash.
Bioflavonoids are thought to help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. The best sources are tea, red wine, citrus fruits, berries and soy products.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce macular degeneration and incidences of dry eye. They’re found in abundance in oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts.
Zinc reduces the risk of night blindness when combined with Vitamin A, and may also protect against the progression of macular degeneration. Oysters, beef, and dark turkey meat are all great sources of zinc.
Vitamin A is key to protecting against night blindness and dry eyes. There are high levels in eggs, butter, milk, and beef or chicken liver.
Vitamin C can help to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. It is found in a wide variety of foods including sweet peppers, kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges and cantaloupe melons.
Vitamin D, found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, milk, and fortified orange juice, provides health benefits that reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Vitamin E, when combined with Vitamin C, may reduce the risk of developing advanced macular degeneration. The richest sources of Vitamin E are nuts, seeds, cereal grains and olive oil.
As well as eating a healthy diet, it’s important to maintain an appropriate weight as overweight individuals are at an increased risk of suffering poor eye health. Excess weight is linked with heightened incidences of strokes, heart disease and high blood pressure. All of these affect the blood vessels in the body and can consequently reduce blood flow to the eyes.
The multiple health risks associated with smoking also extend to the eyes. The chemicals in cigarettes damage blood vessels in the body, causing them to harden and constrict. The effect of this is reduced blood flow around the body, including to the eyes, which over time contributes to lasting damage, significant vision loss or even blindness.
Macular degeneration, cataracts and dry eye are all more likely to develop in smokers compared to non-smokers.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the majority of people will need 7-9 hours’ sleep per night in order to function at their best during the day. Consistent sleep deprivation can take its toll on eye health, contributing to the development of glaucoma, cataracts, or temporary blindness.
To find out more about eye conditions or to book an eye test at City Eyewear, please call our friendly team on 01274 729393 .