By Dr Sally Dillehay
Visioneering Technologies’ seven tips for keeping your eyes healthy
1. Look for warning signs of changes in your vision
If you start noticing significant changes in your vision or your children are experiencing eyesight difficulties, see your eye doctor immediately. Being proactive and seeking the opinion of an eye doctor could make all the difference in the lifespan of your eyes’ health.
2. Exercise, exercise and more exercise
It’s important to maintain a healthy weight, but many people fail to realise those who are overweight or obese could be at risk of developing diabetes which could lead to vision loss. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of obesity, so get out and be active. Plus, being outside when younger can help to prevent the development of nearsightedness.
3. Protect your eyes when outside – particularly in the sunshine
When in the sun, wear sunglasses with a UV filter to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. It might not seem like it now, but the damage can be lasting. Specially designed lenses can also help filter out blue light from digital devices that may cause eyestrain, disrupt sleep patterns, and possibly contribute to macular degeneration.
4. Eat a healthy and balanced diet, and your eyes will be just as healthy
Recent studies have shown that eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of legal blindness in Australia. At the same time, a diet laden with a high antioxidant content, such as goji berries, pecan nuts or kidney beans, has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of cataracts or ‘clouding of the eye’. Substituting an extra serve of the right foods into your diet could make all the difference to your eyes’ health.
5. Take care of your contact lenses and they’ll take care of you
The ability of many Australian’s to enjoy the comfort and benefits of contact lenses is a privilege most take for granted. So, taking the appropriate amount of care in cleaning, storing and wearing contact lenses, is essential to avoid possible risks and infections that can develop into serious complications. Some basics in responsibly using contact lenses include, making sure to wash your hands prior with soap and water to touching the lens, use the correct contact lens disinfectant in your store case and replacing your contact lens in the prescribed period (such as daily disposables or 3-month prescriptions).
6. Don’t sleep with your contacts left in
Sleeping in any type of contact lens increases the risk of an eye infection, inflammation or abrasions and wearers should try to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on best practice at all times. Even lenses marked as “extended wear”, “continuous wear”, or “overnight wear” won’t completely safeguard you against these risks – best to take the contact lens out as you sleep. If you do fall asleep in contact lenses that aren’t designed to be slept in, be sure to remove the lens as soon as possible in the morning and give your eyes a day to rest without the lenses in.
7. Get your eyes, and your children’s eyes, checked every year
As stated earlier, if it’s diagnosed early 75% of all vision loss in Australia could be prevented, so a comprehensive eye exam is vital to determine the risk of major eye diseases or deterioration in your eyes or the eyes of your family. Alternatively, if you or your family already have or require glasses or prescriptions, regular check-ups and ensuring that the prescriptions are up to date could make the all the difference in your eye’s health and your vision.