National Eye Health Week 2018: Looking After Your Sight

This week is National Health Week 2018, which runs from Monday 24th September to Saturday 30th September.

National Eye Health Week is a national campaign encouraging everyone, young and old, to think about eye health and the importance of looking after your eyes.

Team ELVis have been very busy this week promoting the campaign across East London.  We’ve been talking to members of the public sharing advice and information on how to achieve good eye health and reduce the effects of sight loss.

Here are some of our top tips on how to keep your eyes healthy.

Eat healthily

There are numerous health benefits that come with incorporating healthy foods into your diet, such as healthy eyes and good vision.  Leafy green vegetables contain lots of nutrients like lutein which protect the eyes and reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Exercise regularly

Although exercise doesn’t have a direct link to eye health, there are benefits exercising can have on your overall wellbeing, such as reducing the risk of diabetes.  Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels behind your eyes and can lead to permanent vision loss.

Drink less alcohol

Did you know the recommended units of alcohol for a per day is 4 units for men and 3 for women?  Alcohol contains toxins which causes the optic nerves carrying your vision from the eyes to the brain to swell, which can lead to vision problems like blurry vision.

Quit smoking

Smoking has a negative consequence on your eyes and vision. The chemical toxins in tobacco damage the surface and structure of your eyes. Quitting smoking will decrease the likelihood of your eye health from further deteriorating.

Wear sunglasses

Sunglasses are not just a fashion statement!  They protect the eyes, especially on a very bright and sunny day.  When you’re buying a pair of sunglasses look out for ones which are labelled “UV 400” as these will protect your eyes from damaging UV rays which can cause permanent retinal damage.

Attend an eye examination

Going to see an optician for an eye examination can help detect any visual problems that can be corrected by glasses.  In addition, an optometrist can detect any health issues like heart disease and high blood pressure before you notice any effects on your eyes.

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Ray and Paul from ELVis with the local sensory team and eye clinic staff at The Royal London Hospital.

Written by Ray Calamaan, ELVis Communications Coordinator

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Team ELVis at National Eye Health Week 2017

In this week’s blog, I’m going to be sharing what Team ELVis got up to during National Eye Health Week (18th – 24th September) in partnership with local optometrists, health and social care professionals, and the voluntary sector.

On Tuesday, we had an ELVis stall at the Sainsbury’s Supermarket in Whitechapel to raise awareness about what we do as a charity and the importance of getting an eye examination. It was a successful day. We spoke to lots of people who had not been for an eye examination in recent years and encouraged them to make an appointment at their local opticians.

Then on Wednesday, we were at Queen’s Hospital in Romford and joined by the local vision impaired group, Sight Action Havering. We had another successful day promoting the charity and sharing lots of helpful eye health tips with hospital patients and visitors.

Our final day of National Eye Health Week activities took place on Thursday. We spent the day at Chrisp Street Market in Poplar speaking to the local community. It was a chilly day but we braved the cold. Moreover, we managed to sign up a new ELVis member. The biggest challenge of the day was ensuring that we didn’t lose our leaflets to the wind!!

During the week we handed out plenty of freebies – pens, trolley coin keyrings, magnets, and mints – which were really popular!

Although National Eye Health Week has ended it’s important to continue looking after your eyes.  Did you know that there is a link between smoking and increased risk of blindness and eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

Furthermore, to limit the risk of developing an eye condition it’s recommended by the NHS that you should undergo a sight examination at least once every two years.

More information on keeping your eyes healthy can be found by visiting: www.visionmatters.org.uk

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Photo of Sight Action Havering members (Mike, Tracy, Maureen, Sandra and Izzy the guide dog) and Team ELVis (Ray and Graham).

Written by Masuma Ali