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Local optician Saagar Hirani of Edmonds and Slatter Opticians in Blaby hopes to encourage people to take better care of their sight during National Eye Health Week (22 – 28 September) with the launch of a six point guide to healthy vision. Mr. Hirani says: “Everyday life can put a strain on your eyes but regular sight testing and making the right lifestyle choices can help keep your eyes and vision healthy.”

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Saagars’s Six Simple Sight Savers

1. Eat right for good sight. Most of us have no idea that what we eat can affect how well we see, however, eye-friendly nutrients found in many fruit and vegetables and fatty acids derived from fish, nuts and oils can all help protect your sight.

Vitamins B and E can help protect against cataracts whilst omega-3 fish oils help maintain healthy blood vessels inside the eye – research has shown that eating just one portion of fish a week can reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by up to 40%.

2. Quit smoking. Smokers have a significantly greater risk of sight loss than
non-smokers. Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the delicate surface and the internal structure of the eye. This can lead to an increased risk of many eye conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), nuclear cataracts; thyroid eye disease; dry eye and poor colour vision.

3. Watch your weight. A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30+ doubles your risk of suffering age-related macular degeneration and significantly increases your chances of developing cataracts.

4. Get fit. Aerobic exercise can help increase oxygen supplies to the optic nerve and lower any pressure that builds up in the eye. Reducing intraocular ‘eye’ pressure can help control conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

5. Cover up. Exposure to UV light increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. According to the World Health Organisation UV damage is the biggest modifiable risk factor of cataract development.

Always wear sunglasses when the UV index rises above three, even on a cloudy day.
Check your sunglasses filter AT LEAST 99 per cent of UVA and UVB light and look out for a CE UV 400 or BS EN 1836:2005 mark when choosing your sunglasses to be sure they provide adequate protection.

6. Be screen smart. On average we spend a staggering 35 hours a week staring at a computer screen so it’s no surprise that 90 per cent of us say we experience screen fatigue – tired or irritated eyes, blurred vision, headaches and poor colour perception.
Give your eyes a break by looking away from your screen every 20 minutes and focusing on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

When was your last sight test? Why not book one during National Eye Health Week, especially if you haven’t had one in the last two years. To arrange an appointment or for more information please contact Edmonds and Slatter Opticians on 0116 277 7733.