People say that eyes are the window to your soul, but perhaps, more accurately, they are the window to your health and well-being. Puffy, swollen, and bloodshot eyes are a sure sign that you are overlooking your eye health. With such an important and precious function, it is essential to build a few simple habits to ensure your eyes are always in the best condition. We have compiled our list of the top 5 most effective ways to maintain healthy eyes, which you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.

😴 Sleep 

Whether it's self-inflicted (late-night Netflix sessions) or out of your control (2 a.m. wake-up calls from your sleep-hating 5-year-old), consistently not getting enough sleep can cause temporary episodes of eye twitching. Although completely harmless, twitching eyes are distracting and can lead to unnecessary eye-rubbing.

Adopting better sleep habits will help to avoid these muscle spasms, so aim to:

  • switch off your computer/TV at least 1 hour before bedtime
  • avoid caffeine from the late afternoon onwards
  • adopt a relaxing pre-bedtime activity such as reading, meditation, gentle stretching, or journaling
  • get at least 7 hours of sleep

📵 Reduce screen time

Our reliance on screens to live, work, and play shows no sign of slowing down but reducing your usage, even by a small amount, will provide some welcome relief to your eyes. It is often easier said than done, so why not try to:

  • leave your phone/tablet/laptop in a different room to break the habit of instantly reaching for it
  • delete social media apps off your phone during the week and reinstall them on the weekend, a process that takes minutes but will potentially save you hours of mindless scrolling
  • adopt the 20-20-20 rule when working on your computer. In other words, look away from your screen at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes - there are plugins and apps you can install to remind you to do this. Taking these regular breaks will help to reduce eye strain and headaches and even encourage better posture

😎 Wear sunglasses

Most people know to protect their skin from UV light but it is less well known that eyes are ten times more prone to damage from the sun's rays than skin. Wearing sunglasses protects every single structure within your eyes and the paper-thin skin that surrounds them, helping to both preserve your vision and prevent signs of premature aging.

It is a good idea to keep a pair in your bag or your car so that you always have them to hand on unexpectedly sunny days - take a look at our sunglasses collection if you need new shades.

🔬 Attend regular eye check-ups

Wearing the wrong prescription can cause eye strain and headaches, so it is important to get your eyes tested every two years. Check-ups are not solely focused on eyesight, an optician will also check for any signs of disease like diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, etc. 

You do not have to pay for an eye test if your job requires you to use a computer or laptop for most of the day, as your employer is legally obliged to cover the cost to comply with health and safety regulations. Additionally, certain groups of people are entitled to free NHS-funded eye tests - you can check your eligibility here.

👁️ Don't rub your eyes

Rubbing your eyes is often an instinctive reaction when you are tired, have allergies, or have something in your eye. Instead of providing relief, you may actually be creating some of the following problems:

  • eye infections such as conjunctivitis can occur when germs and bacteria from your hands transfer into your eye
  • increased pressure on the eye, which can damage the cornea and lens. In extreme cases, this force can cause retinal detachment
  • if you have a foreign object in your eye, rubbing will cause scratches on the cornea. This damage will leave your eye feeling sore and irritated and your vision may be impaired. If you experience these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.

To stop rubbing your eyes, you need to address the root cause of irritation. Tired eyes? See points 1 and 2. Allergies? Take an antihistamine and use soothing eye drops. Something in your eye? Use clean water or saline solution to irrigate the eye until the foreign object is removed.

By making a few, simple (and mostly free!) changes to your daily routine, your eyes will look and feel better than ever. Give them a try and see the results for yourself.

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