4 tips for looking after your eye health this winter

Don’t take your eyes for granted. Protect your vision with this simple advice.

Good eyesight is a key part of being healthy, and helps you perform well, whether that’s at work, school or behind the wheel. Unfortunately, many of us tend to put our eye health last on the list of priorities, as our eyes usually don’t hurt when there is a problem.

Getting regular check-ups at the opticians is an important part of keeping on top of any unusual changes, but there are other things you can do to safeguard your sight.

Here are a few key lifestyle changes that could make all the difference…

1. Take regular breaks from your computer

Looking at TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones can cause eyestrain – early stage research has found that the blue light they emit can be harmful to the eyes, causing digital eyestrain and potentially retina damage.

The best way to avoid redness? Take a proper screen break; make a cup of tea, chat to a colleague or get some fresh air outside. The HSE ( suggest short, frequent breaks are better than less frequent, longer breaks.

Try following the 20-20-20 rule when you’re in the office. This means for every 20 minutes you look at a screen, you should gaze at something that is at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

2. Eat well

Maintaining your eye health can start with what you put on your plate. For optimum vision, plump for antioxidant-rich foods that are packed with Vitamins A and C, such as leafy green vegetables.

Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, are particularly important too as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help slow age-related degeneration of the macula – the part of the eye responsible for central vision.

3. Quit smoking

Quit smoking

According to the NHS, smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight compared to non-smokers. This is partly because noxious particles in cigarettes can irritate the eyes, and can increase the chances of developing cataracts. Smoking can also cause a number of eye conditions to worsen, such as diabetes-related sight problems.

Look into free ‘stop smoking’ services that can boost your chances of kicking the habit for good. For instance, your GP might be able to offer one-on-one support, drop-in services or group appointments. Visit to find out what’s available in your area.

4. Wear sunglasses

Exposure to the UV light emitted by the sun can contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration – even during the winter months.

A good pair of sunglasses can help keep your eyes safe on bright and chilly December days. Not all sunglasses protect you from harmful UV rays though, so make sure to do your research before picking up a pair of cheap but fashionable high street shades.

Look for a pair that offer 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays – it should usually indicate this on the tag, but ask your optician if you’re not sure. The more coverage from your sunglasses, the better the protection too – so swerve the tiny sunnies trend and opt for some oversized aviators instead.

Have you got a health question?

We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Click below to submit your query online.


* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.


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