Eye Health

Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are several things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing at your best. Follow these simple tips for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.

1. Know your family’s ocular history

Talk to your family members about their eye health. It is important to know if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition since many of these can be hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at a higher risk of developing such an eye disease or condition yourself.

2. Eat right to protect your sight

You’ve no doubt heard that carrots are good for your eyes but did you know that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale or collard greens) is just as important for keeping your eyes healthy too. Research has also shown that there are eye health benefits from eating fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut.

3. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions. These can also lead to vision loss, such as with diabetic eye disease, cataract and/or glaucoma. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight then it would be advisable to talk to your GP.

4. Wear protective eyewear

Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing DIY/manual labour tasks in and around the house. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses/goggles, safety shields or eye guards specifically designed to provide the correct protection for a certain sport or activity. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, a material that is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eyecare providers sell protective eyewear, as do select sporting goods stores.

5. Quit smoking (or, better yet, never start!)

Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to vision loss.

6. Be cool and wear your shades

Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. When purchasing sunglasses, it is best to choose ones that block out 99-100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

7. Give your eyes a rest

If you spend a lot of time at a screen or focusing on any one thing, you will blink less without realising and this can then contribute to your eyes becoming fatigued. It is therefore important to take regular breaks and stay hydrated. Another option is to try the 20-20-20 rule, where for every 20 minutes of looking at a screen or doing a concentrated task you take 20 seconds to look at something about 20 feet away from you. This will encourage your eyes to blink more and help reduce eyestrain.

8. Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly

To avoid the risk of infection, always ensure that you wash and dry your hands thoroughly before applying and removing your contact lenses. If applicable, make sure that you disinfect your contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.

9. Practice eye safety in the workplace

Employers are legally required to provide a safe workplace environment. When protective eyewear is required as part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times it is deemed necessary and encourage your co-workers to do the same.


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