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General Eye Care

  • Clean hands

    Avoid touching your eyes with dirty hands. This will reduce the risk of you getting an infection. If you need to touch your eyes or the area around your eyes you should wash your hands with warm soapy water before and after touching your eyes.
  • Don’t rub your eyes

    Try to avoid rubbing or scratching your eyes as this can lead to an infection.
  • Avoid triggers

    If your eye discomfort is triggered by allergies for example, try to avoid the cause of your allergic reaction. Common triggers include fur, dust, pollen and certain foods.
  • Don’t share personal items

    Avoid sharing things like towels, flannels or make-up as this could pass on an infection. Use your own personal items and try to make sure no one else uses yours.
  • Cleaning your eyes

    Any eye discharge should be gently cleaned from the eye area. Use a separate cotton wool pad soaked in water for each eye. Always wipe from the corner of the eye (nearest the nose) outwards to prevent cross-contamination of any infection into the other eye.
  • Soothing your eyes

    A cold compress may soothe your eye. A clean damp flannel that has been submerged in very cool water is ideal.
  • Contact lenses

    Take care when inserting and removing contact lenses from your eyes. Always follow your optician’s instructions for cleaning your lenses and avoid wearing them for long periods of time. Take them out before you sleep and always wash your hands before touching your lenses.
  • Sore eyes and contact lenses

    If you have sore eyes you should remove your contact lenses and leave them out until all the signs and symptoms of the infection or irritation have gone. Avoid using contact lenses until 24 hours after you have finished a course of treatment, such as antibiotics. If you have glasses, wear these instead.
  • Eye strain

    You can help prevent eye strain by giving your eyes regular breaks from looking at the same object, such as a computer screen. This helps rest your eye muscles. Exercise your eyes by moving them around to focus on different objects around the room. Focus on things that are close to you then things that are far away.
  • Avoid looking directly at the sun

    This can cause damage to your eyes because they are sensitive to the sun’s strong UV (ultraviolet) rays. If you’re outside on a sunny day try wearing sunglasses to help minimise contact between your eyes and the sun’s rays.
  • Eye tests

    It is recommended that you have an eye test every two years. You should have more frequent tests if you have diabetes and are over the age of 40, if you have a family history of eye conditions, if you are over the age of 70 (and don’t have diabetes or a family history of eye problems) or if you have existing problems with your vision.

    More information can be found at
    NHS Choices.