If you asked people which of their senses they would be most afraid of losing, the majority would say sight. Humans depend on sight as their primary sense, and the idea of not being able to see is a frightening prospect. Of course, many people do lose their sight because of health issues or injuries, and go on to lead happy and productive lives. But not being able to see is a choice very few people would make voluntarily. Your eyes are also the primary facial feature that other people look at when communicating, as they express your emotions even if you are trying to hide them; people find eyes fascinating, and they are integral to the science of attraction. As your eyes play such a key role in your life, it pays to look after them properly.
Good health comes in large part from within, so the foods you eat will have a significant effect on the function and appearance of your eyes. Getting sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals into your system will help your eyes to function well and keep them looking clear and sparkling. That means having a varied, balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water too, as even mild dehydration can make your eyes dry and scratchy. There’s an old saying to the effect that eating carrots enables you to see in the dark. Carrots can’t really make you see in the dark, but they do have high levels of retinoid (Vitamin A), which is important for healthy eyes.
Rest and sleep
You will know only too well that when you are tired your eyes start to feel sore, or itchy, and you’ll want to keep rubbing them. They can become bloodshot and you can experience a reduced ability to focus as well as you would normally. You can also get shadows or bags under your eyes when you’re overtired, and you’ll definitely lack sparkle if you’re sleep deprived. Regularly getting enough sleep is the only way to deal with these issues, and if you keep pushing yourself your appearance will suffer noticeably; you could even make yourself sick. Going to bed and getting up at around the same time each day will help you achieve a natural rhythm to your sleep patterns. Some people only need a few hours sleep, but most of us need between seven and nine hours every night to rest and restore ourselves sufficiently.
Everyday sight problems
Millions of people have visual impairments such as long or short-sightedness and astigmatism, which need correction with glasses or contact lenses. You should get your eyesight tested regularly by a qualified optometrist to make sure you are wearing the right corrective lenses, or if you haven’t done so before that you need to now. It’s common as you enter middle age to start having trouble reading small print or writing that is too close to your face, even if you are already short-sighted. That means changing to bifocals or varifocals, or having a separate pair of reading glasses. Not only will you suffer from eye strain, leading to headaches and possibly migraines, but you could be putting yourself and others at risk if you drive when your sight is less than perfect.
Wearing contacts is a comfortable and convenient alternative to glasses, and providing you follow simple hygiene rules and don’t wear the lenses for longer than your optometrist recommends, you shouldn’t have any problems. Most infections occur because wearers become careless about washing their hands properly when handling the lenses, or fail to sterilize reusable lenses correctly between uses. Sleeping in lenses that aren’t designed to be worn permanently will make your eyes dry out and leave them red and sore, and keeping lenses in too long can also make your eyes sore. These problems are easily avoided by maintaining careful cleanliness and care standards, and when used sensibly contacts need never cause you any problems. It’s possible to get lenses even for complicated needs, like astigmatism or combined long and short-sightedness. If you wear cosmetic lenses that color your eyes, you will still need a prescription from an optometrist to ensure they are the correct shape for your eyeballs. You can learn more about colored lenses and how to use them on specialist websites, as well as viewing the range of prescription lenses available.
Electronic devices and TV screens
You probably spend a large part of your day either working at a computer, watching TV, surfing the net on your laptop or tablet, reading an eBook, or playing on a games console. That adds up to a lot of hours spent staring at a screen. There’s been extensive research done on the effects of looking at screens, and providing you aren’t overdoing it you shouldn’t do any harm to your eyes. The main problem is that the brightness and constant rapid stimulation can make your eyes feel tired, and you shouldn’t keep going if you start to feel any strain or discomfort. You can get filters that reduce the glare from screens or simply reduce the brightness levels on your device if you find that effective.
Illness and injury
Your optometrist should pick up any abnormalities in the structure of your eye, or conditions like glaucoma and cataracts during your regular check-up when they will run a series of tests and scans to examine the entire structure of your eyes. Common infections like conjunctivitis are usually mild and easily treated, but if you have any problems with your eyes, you should get them checked by your doctor. Discharge, bleeding, swelling, discoloration, or sudden loss of vision should all be investigated. If you get something stuck in your eye, you can try washing it out with an eye bath, but if that doesn’t work, you should get it removed by a clinician before it can cause any damage or infection.
Your eyes are one of your defining physical features and one of your most vital senses, so make sure you take good care of them.