Welcome to Parish, Green & Beatty
Independent Community Optometrists
Professional Eyecare for all the Family
Eye Health    

Between regular eye tests there are a few things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and happy.

1. Stop smoking
Did you know smoking can double the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the UK's leading cause of sight loss? In fact, the link is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer. Speak to your GP about stopping smoking.

2. Eat healthily and watch your weight
Eating a diet low in saturated fats but rich in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli may help protect against cataracts and AMD. Oranges, kiwis, nuts, seeds and oily fish may also help prevent and slow down some eye conditions. Taking supplements is not a substitute for a healthy diet. It is important to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can increase the risk of developing diabetes, which in turn could lead to sight loss.

3. Keep your eyes covered in the sun
UVA and UVB rays in sunlight can harm your eyes and may increase the risk of cataracts and AMD. Wearing sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses with built in UV filter will protect your eyes. Only buy sunglasses that have a CE mark or carry British Standard BSEN 1836:1997.

4. Safety first
DIY causes thousands of eye related injuries each year. Always wear safety goggles (European Standard BS EN 166) to protect your eyes from flying debris and fine particles. Sport (especially racquet-based sports) also causes lots of eye related injuries each year. Investing in a good pair of protective sports goggles will help prevent serious damage to your eyes.

(Source Royal National Institute for the Blind RNIB)

Using Visual Display Units and PC Monitors

With the rising number of people using computers at work and at home there has also been an increase in the number of people complaining of eye strain. Although scientific research has not proved a link between using computers and permanent eye damage using VDUs for a long period of time can cause some minor eye problems.

Computer vision syndrome is a common eye condition amongst VDU users. Symptoms can range from tired eyes to blurred vision. If you do experience any of the following symptoms you could have computer vision syndrome. If you find it difficult to focus on distant objects after using a computer, you have headaches, eyestrain or dry eyes you need to take extra care when using a VDU to avoid getting computer vision syndrome. It is also best to visit us for an eye test to rule out anything more serious.

There a number of things you can do to look after your eyesight when using VDUs. Follow the following advice to ensure good eye health:

  • Take breaks. Focusing on the screen for long periods can lead to computer vision syndrome so it is important to take regular breaks. You should rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking away from the screen.
  • Adjust your monitor settings and position. You should adjust your computer so that the monitor settings are comfortable for you. The brightness and contrast can be adjusted so that you are not straining your eyes. Try using a larger font size or using the zoom option on the page layout to make it easier on your eyes. The screen should also be kept clean using special wipes. Your health and safety manager at work will be able to help you ensure the screen is positioned correctly. The screen should be between 33cm and 59cm from your eyes and the centre of the monitor should be 10cm – 15cm below your natural eye level.
  • Check the lighting around the computer. There should not be any bright sunlight reflecting onto your screen. Using an anti-glare screen which is fixed onto your monitor is a good idea to reduce any glare and will block any reflections.
  • Blink frequently. Remember to blink at regular intervals. When you are concentrating for a long time at a computer your blink rate slows down. Some people also find that they get dry eyes when using computers. This is one of the symptoms of computer vision syndrome but it can be relieved by using eye drops. Ask your optometrist for advice if you get dry eyes. Those who wear contact lenses may be more prone to dry eye.
  • Have regular eye tests. At Parish, Green & Beatty, we recommend that adults should have an eye test at least every two years. An eye test will check your eyesight and will also look for signs of eye disease. Other health problems may also be detected during an eye test.

If you use computers for work you may be entitled to a free eye test, paid for by your employer. Under European legislation employees who use VDUs are entitled to an eye test when they begin using VDUs and at regular intervals throughout their employment. If you experience eye problems which may be a result of using VDUs then you will be entitled to a free eye test. If you then need to wear glasses your employer must pay for a basic pair of glasses or you can pay the difference for a pair of your choice. Ask your optometrist if you may be eligible when you undergo your eye test.

(Source Royal National Institute for the Blind RNIB)

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Try to follow our general advice when working with VDUs


Click here to learn more about Eye Health from the
Royal National Institute for the Blind