It’s National Eye Health Week (23-29 September) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has created a list of less conventional tips for keeping your eyes healthy.
Dump that old mascara – Out-of-date eye makeup can cause eye infections as bacteria can build up in your products over time. Make sure you check the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol on your makeup, as this tells you the number of months the product is safe to use after it has been opened.
Top tip: Use a permanent marker on your product to write the date you opened it – there’s no chance you’ll remember every date for your whole makeup bag.
Be Popeye, not Bugs Bunny – We’ve all been told that eating carrots is the key to healthy eyes but, while carrots are a good source of Vitamin A, which is important for the eyes, in reality, it’s more important to have a balanced diet with all types of fruit and vegetables.
Top tip: Eat lots of leafy, green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, as well as oily fish and eggs.
Pick up after your dog – Many people think dog and cat faeces causing vision loss is an old wives’ tale, but humans can catch an infection called toxocariasis from handling soil or sand which is contaminated with animal faeces containing roundworm parasites. Although rare, this infection which most commonly affects young children, has many different symptoms and can cause permanent vision loss.
Top tip: be vigilant where your children are playing. Be sure to pick up after your dog and don’t let dogs go on playing fields which specifically say: “No dogs allowed”.
Say no to fancy dress contact lenses – Come Halloween, you might be tempted to dial up the scare factor with a set of scary contact lenses, but you can never be too cautious when putting something in your eye. You should always have contact lenses fitted by an eye care professional as lenses which aren’t tailored for you, can end up scratching or infecting your eyes.
Top tip: If you do use contact lenses (costume or otherwise) make sure you care for them properly and you should never attempt to clean them with tap water or saliva.
Don’t be tempted to reach for eye whitening drops – It’s very tempting – when you’ve had a restless night and your bloodshot eyes are showing the evidence – to simply grab your trusted whitening drops and put them in your eyes. But, some drops reduce redness by temporarily decreasing blood flow and constricting blood vessels in the eye.
Top tip: If your eyes are consistently bloodshot, you should find out why and make an appointment with your optometrist (optician), rather than masking the problem.
When diagnosed with an eye condition or experiencing a sudden change in vision, having someone you can trust to turn to for support and advice can make a huge difference. RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service provides practical and emotional support over the phone, face-to-face at many hospital eye clinics, and online.
Get in touch on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk/advice .