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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > September 2017 > THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO HEALTHY EYES

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO HEALTHY EYES

From the over-use of computer screens to diabetes complications, there are multiple reasons to push eye health up the priority list

NATIONAL EYE HEALTH WEEK 18–24 SEPT

YOU SEE THE DOCTOR, visit the dentist and hygienist, but when was the last time you gave your eyes a health MOT? We’re not talking about whether or not you need glasses to correct your vision, but checking all is well with your eyes – and your general health.

‘It’s vital to have a thorough eye check every two years,’ says Francesca Marchetti, leading optometrist and adviser to independent eye-care panel WINK. ‘It doesn’t matter if you have 20/20 vision or think your current prescription is fine – eye tests aren’t just for contact lens and glasses wearers.

‘We can spot early signs of glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD),’ she says. ‘But we’re not just checking for vision issues. We can pick up problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes or cancer by looking into your eyes, because they’re the only part of the body where your blood vessels can be observed without you having to be opened up.’

A visit to an optometrist can also be a good way to get advice about some common eye problems, such as dry, irritated or bloodshot eyes, which you may be putting up with unnecessarily.

Read on for expert advice on keeping your eyes in tip-top condition and what to do when things go wrong.

COMMON EYE PROBLEMS

Many of us go through life putting up with minor eye issues – but there’s no need to suffer when they can often be easily sorted

Dry, itchy, gritty

‘These days, you don’t have to be a smoker, wear contact lenses or have allergies to suffer from itchy, red, sore or dry eyes because we’re spending so much of our time staring at screens of one sort or another,’ says Francesca. ‘The problem with this is that our blink rate reduces to just six per minute, compared with the desirable 18 blinks per minute. This causes eyes to dry out, as the lipid tear film on their surface is disrupted and tears evaporate. The result can be sore, gritty, tired eyes. ‘Blinking is essential for eye health as it keeps the cornea lubricated and removes any debris. It also brings nutrients, minerals and other beneficial substances to the surface of the eye,’ explains Francesca. Japanese researchers have also shown that a low blink rate reduces levels of a protein called MUC5AC found in the tear film, which is essential for protecting eyes. In the case of contact lens wearers, blinking also replenishes the tear layer upon which the contact lens floats.

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About Healthy Food Guide

In the September issue of Healthy Food Guide, we share new ways to help you battle fatigue and tiredness, the best tips for smoothing out cellulite, and an expert guide to keeping your eyes healthy. Plus, we reveal how you can meditate your way to weight loss, and share Strictly judge Darcy's secrets to staying healthy. All this, plus our easy low-calorie recipes and diet plan, available to download now.
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