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Tips for looking after your Eyes

Young boy having his eyes tested

Good eye health is important for quality of life. Poor eyesight can have a dramatic impact on overall wellbeing and for this reason alone it is essential we don’t take our eye health for granted.

Follow the tips below to protect your eyesight:

Have a Regular Eye Examination

Regular upkeep is an important part of managing your eye health. Visit your optometrist every 2 years and every 12 months if you wear contact lenses.

If you have any concerns regarding your eye health, it is important that you visit your local eye health practitioner to determine if any additional testing is required.

A large pair of black glasses

The eye is an incredibly sensitive area and if not protected, even a small injury could result in vision loss.

Proper procedures need to be followed for prevention of workplace eye injuries.

Regular eyewear is insufficient in most work environments and procedures need to be followed to ensure prevention of injuries, which can easily happen.

Pay Attention to Your Eye Health

The key factor is to be aware of any changes in your eye health. Don’t ignore signs and symptoms, as early detection is vital and can lead to prevention in most cases. If you experience headaches, pain in and/or around the eye or any sudden symptoms, seek immediate help from an eye health professional.

Plate of yummy healthy food

We all know that eating a well-balanced diet controls weight gain. So, how does this affect our eye health?  Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the chance of getting Type 2 Diabetes, the leading cause of blindness in adults.

Some nutritious foods and nutrients for your eye health are:

  • Kale, collards and spinach (phytonutrients, including zeaxanthin and lutein)
  • Tuna, salmon and other oily fish- Omega 3
  • Beans, nuts, eggs and other non-meat protein sources
  • Citrus fruits and juices, including oranges – Vitamin C
  • Broccoli & brussel sprouts- Vitamin C
  • Sweet potato, carrots- Beta Carotene
  • Ostrich Oyster and red meat – Zinc
  • Turkey and tuna- Vitamin B

A pair of safety glasses

Eye Protection

Eye protection is not just about putting on a pair of glasses. It’s about determining the most appropriate eyewear for the task at hand and making an informed decision in relation to your eye protection, as different protection may be required for each situation. There are three main types of safety eyewear: regular all-purpose safety glasses, safety glasses for dusty environments, and goggles for high dust environments.

Computers

In this day and age, studies have shown that vision problems and eyestrain occur in 50-90% of people working on computers.

Proper lighting, reducing glare, upgrading to LCD monitors, adjusting your display settings, exercising your eyes and frequent breaks can all help reduce the effects of long hours spent at computer screens.

You should also consider the use of computer eyewear for greater comfort and reduction in long term eye damage. Your eye care professional can modify your prescription and create customised computer glasses.

For more information, visit your local eye care professional.

Quit smoking sign

Age-Related Macular Degeneration   

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision impairment in elderly Australians.

This degenerative condition affects the macula, a small area at the centre of the retina. The macula is responsible for fine detailed vision, which is required for activities such as driving, reading and distinguishing colour.

Damage to the retina can be caused by smoking which can constrict the blood vessels to this area, resulting in irreversible blindness.

Your risk of developing macular degeneration will be significantly decreased if you stop smoking. However,  the existing damage cannot be repaired.  

Sun Protection

Over exposure to the sun can cause permanent damage to our eyes. Some common forms of sun damage to eyes are: eyelid skin cancer, cataracts, sunburn to cornea and eye surface tissue growth which may result in vision loss.

White wine being poured into a glass

Sunglasses and UV protection are recommended daily, even in cloudy weather, where the UV rays are very high. Sunglasses should ideally provide 100 % UV ray protection.

Alcohol Consumption

It is clear that alcohol consumption can affect your health in many ways, including eye health. There is evidence to suggest that long term drinking is associated with cataracts and impaired colour vision along with other eye diseases. Tunnel vision is also more prevalent in heavy drinkers, along with the cosmetic effects such as bloodshot eyes and yellowing of the eyeball, which may be a symptom of liver disease.

Risk Factors

Research your family history for any signs of eye disease as there are genetic links for many eye diseases. Some of the risk factors include the presence of disease biomarkers, high intraocular pressure in the case of glaucoma, drusen in the case of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, diabetes in the case of diabetic retinal disease and lifestyle behaviours such as smoking.

Early detection of any of these eye diseases will mean early intervention resulting in prevention or minimal long-term vision loss.