In the bustle of daily life, it is easy to forget the importance of one of your smallest sensory organs. Take a minute to ensure that you take care of your vision by following these simple steps.
- Regular check-ups: A check up before five years of age is highly recommended to check for childhood problems. Regular check-ups throughout your 20’s and 30’s are recommended to ensure that treatable issues such as keratoconus and glaucoma will be detected earlier. Increase eye exams after 40 years of age. Anyone with diabetes should have a dilated eye examination at least once a year. People over the age of 40 should consult with their doctor about frequent check-ups. Many eye-problems can be treated if detected early, and it takes a simple 20 minute appointment to assess your eyes.
- Sun-protection: It is easy to forget that your eyes, much like your skin, can be irrevocably damaged by UV rays. Ensure that your sunglasses provide 100% UV protection, particularly if you have light coloured eyes.
- Use contact lenses with care: Content lenses are revolutionary creations, but should be used with care. Wearing contacts when your eyes are irritated can turn a small problem (irritation) into a serious one (a corneal ulcer). So be aware of how your eyes feel, keep the lenses clean and do not use them after the expiration period. Corneal examinations are recommended once a year.
- People with high degrees of myopia (short-sightedness) should have a dilated retinal examination at least every 2 years to rule out retinal problems such as tears and holes, to prevent retinal detachment. This includes people who have had their short-sightedness corrected by means of laser treatment.
- Eat healthy: It is impossible to understate the importance of a healthy diet. Studies have shown that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins C and E can help ward off age-related vision problems. Eating a well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight which lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
- Quit smoking: Smoking increases the chances of cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration (loss of vision in the centre of the visual field).
- Take a break from the computer: Extended periods of staring at the computer causes eye strain, dry eyes and blurry vision. Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Take a 15 minute break or walk at two hour intervals.