Top 5 mistakes to avoid to keep your eyes healthy

The Eyecare Trust has published its top ten eyecare mistakes that you should avoid if you want to maintain your eye and visual health. Part 1-5 are shown here:

1. DON’T smoke. Smokers have a significantly higher risk of eye disease than non-smokers. According to research published by the RNIB smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight in later life than non-smokers. Tobacco chemicals damage the blood vessels behind your eyes increasing your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

2. DON’T shower with your contacts in. You should ALWAYS take your contact lenses out before showering. If you don’t remove your lenses they risk possible contamination from an organism called acanthamoeba, which is present in tap water. Whilst this organism doesn’t normally pose a problem to your health a contaminated lens can lead to a very painful and potentially blinding infection of the cornea – acanthamoeba keratitis. To prevent the risk of infection contact lens wearers should:
• Never use tap or bottled water to rinse their lenses or lens case
• Remove lenses whilst swimming or using a hot tub
• Dry their hands thoroughly before touching your lenses
• Don’t wear contacts longer than recommended
3. DON’T forget to wear goggles when doing DIY. A staggering 20,000 eye accidents a year – one every 25 minutes! – occur as a direct result of ‘Doing It Yourself’!
4. DON’T let your child wear toy sunglasses. These offer little UV protection and can actually cause more damage because the tinted lenses dilate the pupil allowing more UV light to enter the eye. Check that the lenses filter at LEAST 99 per cent of the UVA & UVB light and look out for the CE or BS EN 1836:2005 marks when choosing sunglasses for your child (or indeed yourself) as this ensures that they offer a safe level of UV protection.
5. DON’T rub an irritated eye. If a foreign object enters your eye, DON’T RUB IT. Lift your upper eyelid outward and gently pull in down over the lower lash. This causes tears to flow and will often wash the object out of your eye. You may have to repeat this several times. If the object does not wash out, contact your optometrist immediately.