Matthew Conway is the director of Dipple & Conway Opticians in Norfolk. An independent, family-run business with practises in Norwich, Diss and Swaffham, Matthew’s clinical team take care of the eyesight of hundreds of people throughout the region. Here, they share their professional advice for how to take care of our eyes during the crisp, colder months. 

In the winter months, eating well is so important to keep the bugs at bay. As well as combatting the common cold, did you know that what we dish up for dinner could make a big difference to the health of our eyes? 

Having a balanced diet can help keep our eyes healthy and influence whether we develop diseases for example diabetes that affect our vision, diabetes is a leading cause of blindness.

Eat well, keep active: Diet and lifestyle are crucial to maintaining healthy eyes. It’s true. Carrots are thought to be great for your eyesight, but better still are leafy green veg, fruit and foods rich in omega-3.

Omega-3 helps our bodies to absorb fatty acids that provide structural support for cell membranes and can also help alleviate dry eyes, a condition which can be aggravated in the colder months. Oily fish or taking a mixed essential fatty acid supplement appears to help those with dry eye.

Combining a healthy, balanced, varied diet with regular exercise means you could reduce your risk of visual impairment.  Exercise relieves stress, increases our blood flow and oxygen supply, which all contribute to healthy eyes too.

Step away from the screen: Lots of us are spending more time staring at screens. And once we log off, we switch from one screen to another as we relax by watching our latest favourite TV show or catch up on social media. 

Our eyes can only take so much. And regular screen breaks or taking entire days off from staring at screens are so essential. You and your eyes will feel so much better for it. When working with a screen, set a timer for the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something else, 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. 

Stay sun safe in all seasons: While the days might be shorter, the sun can be intense and bright in autumn and winter, so keep your sunglasses within easy reach. 

Our eyes need an extra layer of protection from harmful, strong UV and UVB rays all year around, especially in the autumn winter months when the sun’s glare can be intense. If we experience another heavy snowfall this winter, or if you’re lucky enough to be booking a ski trip, do be aware of snow blindness – temporary erosions to the cornea that can be very painful, and caused when the sun is reflected off bright white snow. 

Overexposure to the sun can damage the eyes as well as our skin, so just as thick coats, hats and scarves are all part of your cosy winter wardrobe, a pair of high-quality stylish sunglasses are a must-have accessory too, even on cloudy days. 

Being exposed to too much UV light can increase our chances of developing eye problems.

The most common eye conditions linked to UV light are cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and up to 10% of skin cancers occurs on the eyelids alone.  The risk of macular degeneration quadruples if you are a smoker. Being overweight also increases the risk of macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease and can increase the risk of stroke which can also affect your vision. 

See an optician: And finally, we cannot stress enough the importance of a regular eye test, conducted by optical professionals using the latest technology. We are medical experts who not only look out for your eyes, but your overall health and wellbeing too. We would love to see you. 

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