Five unconventional tips for saving your sight

A selection of fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices
In time for this year's National Eye Health Week, which runs 23 to 29 September, we've created a list of less conventional tips for keeping your eyes healthy.

1. Dump that old mascara

Out-of-date eye makeup can cause eye infections as bacteria can build up in your products over time. Make sure you check the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol on your makeup, as this tells you the number of months the product is safe to use after it has been opened.

Top tip: Use a permanent marker on your product to write the date you opened it - there’s no chance you’ll remember every date for your whole makeup bag.

2. Be Popeye, not Bugs Bunny

We’ve all been told that eating carrots is the key to healthy eyes but, while carrots are a good source of Vitamin A, which is important for the eyes, in reality, it's more important to have a balanced diet with all types of fruit and vegetables.

Top tip: Eat lots of leafy, green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, as well as oily fish and eggs (hence, be Popeye the sailor man).

3. Pick up after your dog

Many people think dog and cat faeces causing vision loss is an old wives’ tale, but humans can catch an infection called Toxocariasis from handling soil or sand which is contaminated with animal faeces containing roundworm parasites. This rare infection, which most commonly affects young children, has many different symptoms and can cause permanent vision loss.

Top tip: Be sure to pick up after your dog and don’t let dogs go on playing fields which specifically say: “No dogs allowed”.

4. Say no to fancy dress contact lenses

Come Halloween, you might be tempted to jazz up your costume with a set of scary contact lenses, but you can never be too cautious when putting something in your eye. You should always have contact lenses fitted by an eye care professional as lenses which aren’t tailored for you, can end up scratching or infecting your eyes.

Top tip: If you do use contact lenses (costume or otherwise) make sure you care for them properly and you should never attempt to clean them with tap water or saliva.

5. Don't be tempted to reach for eye whitening drops

It’s very tempting - when you’ve had a restless night and your bloodshot eyes are showing the evidence - to simply grab your trusted whitening drops and put them in your eyes. But, some drops reduce redness by temporarily decreasing blood flow and constricting blood vessels in the eye.

Top tip: If your eyes are consistently bloodshot, you should find out why and make an appointment with your optometrist (optician), rather than masking the problem.

Don't forget...

If you want to keep your eyes in tip-top shape, the best thing you can do is to have regular eye examinations with an optician. Read our further advice on looking after your eyes.