Clinicians Corner: Tips from Orthoptist Glenda

Maintaining good eye health is important throughout your life. It is important to have regular eye checks especially as you get older. You should follow these tips to help keep your eyes healthy.

Wear protective eyewear

Activities such as welding, mowing the lawns, chopping wood, corrosive liquids splashing etc are some such activities, can  cause vision damage or even blindness.Use suitable protective eyewear such as safety glasses or goggles or safety shields are available.

Quit smoking and eat healthily

Smoking is bad for your overall health, including the health of your eyes. Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing a retinal disease (e.g. age-related macular degeneration) and cataracts, worsens existing vision problems and can cause optic nerve damage, leading to blindness.

A healthy, balanced diet is essential for maintaining good eyesight. Fish such as salmon that are high in omega 3 oils 3 x a week , 1x daily serving of of green leafy vegetables ,as well as nuts and seeds that are high in Vitamin A . Also, brightly coloured fruits that are high in vitamin C is recommended 3/5 x a week and a variety of coloured vegetables daily are recommended for good health.

Protect your eyes from UV rays

The suns harmful rays can cause a number of eye conditions, including cataracts, eye cancers, photokeratitis (eye sunburn) and pterygium (Surfer’s Eye). Good-quality sunglasses, especially ones that are wraparound with polarised lenses, are a great way of avoiding the damage caused by bright sunlight. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99–100% of both UVA and UVB radiation. A wide-brimmed hat should also be worn to help shield your eyes.

Take regular breaks from screen time

Spending a lot of time at the computer or focusing intently on something is linked to eye fatigue and a decrease in blinking. Try the 20-20-20 rule ­– every 20 minutes, look 20 feet (roughly 6 metres) away for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eye strain.

Don’t rub your eyes

Though it may seem harmless, rubbing your eyes can cause vision problems. If you are prone to rubbing your eyes on a regular basis, it can increase eye pressure and/or damage the cornea. In some cases, eye rubbing can weaken the structure of the cornea and cause it to become more conical in shape, like a rugby ball. This condition is known as keratoconus and can lead to significant distortion of vision.