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Doctor's tips: Top five ways to protect your eyesight

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Tired student or worker rubbing irritable eyes feeling fatigue from computer work concept, overworked woman taking off glasses to relieve eye strain suffering from bad eyesight vision problem concept

Tired student or worker rubbing irritable eyes feeling fatigue from computer work concept, overworked woman taking off glasses to relieve eye strain suffering from bad eyesight vision problem concept

Tired student or worker rubbing irritable eyes feeling fatigue from computer work concept, overworked woman taking off glasses to relieve eye strain suffering from bad eyesight vision problem concept

With the need to reduce our social contacts and interactions, many of us may be spending more time in front of our laptops and TVs. Some might have found that their eyes are becoming strained or that their vision has become blurred.

Here Dr Laura Lenihan gives her top five tips that could make a huge difference to your overall eye health.

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1. Screen idol?

To avoid eye strain, it's important to follow the 20/20/20 rule. Give your eyes a well-earned break from TVs, smartphones and computer screens every 20 minutes by looking at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

2. Feeling stressed?

We know that too much stress can be bad for us, but did you know it can also impact on your eye health? Stress can give rise to high levels of adrenaline, causing pressure on the eyes. In some cases, prolonged stress can lead to, or exacerbate, vision loss. Take care to mind yourself, both mentally and physically.

3. Seeing things?

If you experience changes in your eyesight, such as blurred or distorted vision, don't ignore it. Recent reports have suggested a possible link between Covid-19 and the development of conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva and gives rise to red, itchy eyes, and a sticky discharge. While quite rare, if you are experiencing symptoms, talk to your optician or GP.

4. Getting cold feet?

Postponing or not turning up for your appointments with your eye-care specialist due to concerns about Covid-19 can put your eye health at risk. Contact your specialist if you have concerns, and know that staff are taking every possible precaution to protect your general health, as well as your eye health.

5. Time for a health kick?

Quitting smoking will reduce the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and limit the severity of retinopathy if you have diabetes. Eating leafy green vegetables, which contain lutein, can help protect against a range of eye conditions too. In children, exercise outdoors can contribute to a decrease in the risk of short-sightedness too.

  • The Retina 2020 Conference Public Engagement Day is taking place virtually on Saturday, November 7, from 10.30am to 2pm. The conference, organised by Fighting Blindness and supported by Novartis, will be officially opened by international rugby star, Ian McKinley. It takes place against a backdrop of 240,000 people in Ireland living with sight loss, 75-80pc of which is preventable. You can view the full programme and register to attend, for free, at fightingblindness.ie

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