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Your monthly health check: Looking after your eyes

16 September 2021

5 mins

You only have one pair of eyes, which is why it’s really important you understand how to maintain optimum eye health, as well as learn more about what can damage them.  

As part of the University’s partnership with SuperWellness, this month we’ll be talking about how diet, regular check-ups, and everyday environments can impact your eye health. Further down in this blog post we’ll also be providing information on how you can claim a free eye test voucher through the University.   

Why should I get an eye test?  

You should get your eyes tested at least once every two years. By doing so, an optician can monitor your vision (and suggest how to correct it to improve your quality of life if needed), alongside checking for any common or rare eye conditions.  

Examples of common conditions include cataracts and glaucoma. Cataracts are a small disc which develops in your eye causing cloudy patches. If left untreated, your vision can worsen and even lead to blindness. However, they are usually painless and there are a few treatment options available. Glaucoma is where the optic nerve becomes damaged, resulting in increased pressure in the eye with loss of vision over time. Again, a variety of treatment options are available, and both conditions are generally much more common in older adults.  

What nutrients do I need to include in my diet to support my eye health? 

A balanced diet plays a key role in your eye function. Below are some of the fundamental vitamins and nutrients which support eye health: 

  • Vitamin C: Obtained through fruit and vegetables 
  • Vitamin E: Sourced through nuts and seeds 
  • Vitamin A: Found in animal products and colourful fruit and vegetables 
  • Omega 3: Supports visual development and retinal function and can be consumed by eating oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.  
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin: This antioxidant helps block blue light damage and is found in leafy greens, pistachios, eye yolks, and red grapes.  

What are the risks to my eye health? 

  1. UV Exposure 

We often think of UV exposure affecting our skin, but we need to protect our eyes too. Over time, UV exposure to the eyes can increase the risk of developing cataracts, growths and even cancer.   

Never look at the sun directly, and try to wear sunglasses when you are outside – even on cloudier days. Wraparound sunglasses and those with ultraviolet protection are the safest options.  

  1. Smoking 

Smoking increases the risk of destroying eye blood vessels, and can also make age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts more likely to occur, which can worsen your vision especially when left untreated.  

  1. Screen time 

A significant amount of screen time can cause dryness to the eyes, and research is finding it may possibly cause cases of near-sightedness as well.  

Take regular breaks, avoid looking at screens shortly before you go to sleep, and put dedicated time aside each day to exercise or undertake another activity that isn’t screen-focused.  

  1. Make up 

Old or out-of-date make-up will build up bacteria and can increase the chances of an eye infection. Replace products every three months (unless otherwise stated) and regularly wash your brushes in hot, soapy water.  

Also consider using a more gentle make up remover if you have particularly sensitive eyes.  

  1. Poor contact lens hygiene 

A lack of care when using contact lenses may result in inflammation or a fungal infection, so follow the hygiene instructions for your contact lenses.  

Free eye tests for eligible staff members 

Occupational Health issues vouchers for eligible staff members to have a free eye test. The voucher is conditional on testing being carried out at the University’s chosen optician, Specsavers. 

To obtain your voucher, please email and confirm the following information: 

  • That you are a PC user (DSE) at the University 
  • You have not had an eye test in the last two years 
  • Your staff number 
  • Your Department/ School 
  • Your staff contract is for 12 consecutive weeks or more. 

The voucher also entitles you to a contribution or discount for a pair of glasses if you require them.  

All staff are asked to take a Display Screen Equipment self-assessment if you have not already. Further information can be found here

You can find out more information on how to keep your eyes healthy by checking out SuperWellness’ 20-minute video. The content covers common eye issues, tips to keep your eyes healthy, and the nutrients you need to support eye health.

All images used in this article are courtesy of Getty Images.   

Health and Wellbeing

Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.

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