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1:00 AM 8th January 2022
lifestyle

New Year Health Habits That Can Benefit Our Eyes And Ears

image by Jonathan Borba - unsplash
image by Jonathan Borba - unsplash
January marks a fresh start, with a renewed focus on our health and wellbeing. There’s no better time to shake off bad habits and introduce good routines, and the best news is that many common resolutions also benefit our eyes and ears. Giles Edmonds, Specsavers clinical services director, explains more.

Eat your vitamins

Many use the New year as a time to lose the Christmas pounds and introduce healthy food habits and Specsavers is encouraging people to look for foods that are rich in eye-health boosting vitamins. For example, spinach and kale, are rich in lutein which is essential for eye health, and oily fish such as salmon, is packed full of omega-3, which is great for eyes. Kiwi gives a burst of A, B and C vitamins, which help maintain healthy cells and tissues, meanwhile peppers contain zeaxanthin which help to absorb potentially damaging light.

Exercise more

Whether it’s hitting the gym, or trying that new Zumba class, exercise is the top of many people’s resolution lists.

Mr Edmonds says: "Not only is exercise great for keeping fit and feeling great, research indicates that our lifestyle also has an impact on our vision. Good cardiovascular health could be associated with lower risk of eye disease, which means staying active and eating healthy could stave off eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy.

"While there is still more research that needs to be done in this area, we would suggest that everyone tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle by getting enough exercise and the essential vitamins and minerals they need from a balanced diet, as it can do wonders for health – and if it can help prevent ocular diseases this is an added bonus."

Reduce alcohol consumption

As well as affecting our sleep and our mental health, alcohol can also affect our eyes and ears, which is why using the new year as a chance to cut down on alcohol consumption could be a good idea.

Mr Edmonds says: "When you lose more fluid than you take in, your body becomes dehydrated. Our eyes can become dry and irritated and we can even start to get slightly blurred vision because there are not enough tears to lubricate the eye. The best way to try and combat dry eyes is to rehydrate by drinking plenty of water. Your optician can recommend eye drops that can also help."

Stop smoking

As the new year comes around there is no better time to kick bad habits, such as smoking.

Mr Edmonds says: "Studies have shown that smoking can double your chances of developing cataracts, triple chances of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), increase the risk of uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye) and double the risk of diabetes, which in turn could lead to diabetic retinopathy ."

While traditional tobacco smokers remain the most at risk of developing AMD, research also indicates that vapour from e-cigarettes can cause irritation and lead to dry eye syndrome.

Smoking can also damage your hearing, with smokers being as much as 70% more likely to suffer with hearing loss than non-smokers.  

Take time for self-care and wellbeing

Life can be really busy which is why taking time for self-care and wellbeing is one of the best habits to take into the new year. With partial working from home set to continue in 2022, it’s important people remember to take a timeout from screens too.

Mr Edmonds says: "Our eyes are not designed to be fixated on a single object for a long period of time which is why they can often become strained when we sit at a computer all day. However, the ‘20-20-20 rule’ where you look at something 20ft away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes, can help."

Opticians recommend everyone has a sight test once every two years. To find out more or book your next appointment head to your nearest Specsavers store or visit www.specsavers.co.uk.