The single best way to protect your vision is through regular professional Eye Examinations. You may be at special risk for eye problems if there is a family history of eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or poor vision. In between examinations, if you notice a change in your vision – or you think your eye may be injured in any way – contact your eye care professional as soon as possible.
Getting enough rest, eating foods rich in antioxidants^1^, taking special care in applying cosmetics and hair spray, and – most of all – washing your hands often to help keep your eyes free of germs and bacteria that cause infections are some healthy habits that are important to maintain proper eye health.
At this age, you’ve got a lot on your plate. But you also have more Vision Correction options than before to address long-sightedness (hyperopia), short-sightedness (myopia) or astigmatism. Which means it’s also a good time to learn more about how your eyes work, to understand why you have good vision today – and what changes you may begin to see as you reach your mid- to late 30s.
A regular eye exam is the best way to protect your eyesight - and an easy precaution to take. It is particularly important if you notice a change in your vision, if your eye is injured in any way, or if you have a family history of eye disease.
Each optometrist is different, but most eye exams follow a similar pattern. First, your optometrist will review your personal and family health history – checking for special risk factors like eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or poor vision.
Then, they’ll conduct tests to check for:
A regular eye exam is the best way to protect your eyesight – and an easy precaution to take. Here are more tips for maintaining proper eye health – as well as a healthy lifestyle.
Are you in a high-risk category?
• A family history of eye disease or congenital eye disorders
• Diabetes or hypertension
• A visually demanding or eye-hazardous job
If you are in a high-risk category, there are things you can do to help minimise your risk. Eat a balanced diet, avoid smoking, protect your eyes in the sun and get plenty of exercise.
Eat a balanced diet
As part of your healthy diet, choose foods rich in antioxidants, like Vitamins A and C; foods like leafy, green vegetables and fish^1^. Many foods – especially fish – contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that are important to the health of the macula^2^, the part of the eye responsible for central vision. An inadequate intake of antioxidants, consumption of alcohol or saturated fats may create free-radical reactions that can harm the macula – the central part of the retina. High-fat diets can also cause deposits that constrict blood flow in the arteries^3^. The eyes are especially sensitive to this, given the small size of the blood vessels that feed them.
Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress. While the connection has not been clearly identified, it is known that smoking increases your risk for a variety of health conditions affecting the eye. To help you quit, visit the NHS smoking cessation website NHS - Stop Smoking.
Exercise improves blood circulation, which improves oxygen levels to the eyes and may help protect the retina^4^.
To protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, choose sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. Also, wearing a hat with a brim will greatly reduce the amount of UV radiation slipping around the side of your sunglasses.
Pregnancy and Vision
Some women experience changes in their eyesight when they are pregnant^5^. Hormone levels during pregnancy can change the thickness of your cornea temporarily causing blurred vision. You may need different or additional vision correction for a few months. If you wear contact lenses, you may find that your eyes are uncomfortably dry during your pregnancy. The good news is that your eyes will return to normal shortly after your baby arrives.
Most people know their eyesight is precious, but at this age they don’t think as much about protecting their eyes as they should. Eye safety means taking proactive measures to ensure the same quality of eyesight you currently enjoy.
If your eye is injured you should get immediate medical attention. 40% of US hospital admissions for eye injuries are related to sports^6^ and 71% of those injuries happen to people under the age of 25^7^.
Goggles and shields do much more than protect your eyes from injury. Many goggles or safety glasses come with tints to reduce sun glare, light filtering capabilities that make it easier to see certain colours (like yellow tennis balls), and polycarbonate lenses that stand up to sudden, sharp impact. Choose the right goggles or shield for your sport.
Work and Home Safety
Two of the most common places for eye injuries to occur are home and work8. Often, people in industrial settings are susceptible to projectiles that can injure the eye. And at home, many household cleaners can cause injury to the eyes – in addition to various home improvement projects that have a potential for danger. The best advice we can give is to use your common sense – if you’re working on a project that can cause harm to your eyes, make sure you’re safe with the proper protective eyewear. Visit your local opticians and ask to speak to a Dispensing Optician for further advice^9^.
Sunglasses not only look good, they’re good for you. Protect yourself from harmful UV rays today to help prevent damage tomorrow. Choose sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. A hat will help block indirect sun, which can come into the eyes around the edges of sunglasses.
At the Computer
Computer images are created from thousands of tiny dots – so there is no distinct image for your eye to actually focus on^10^. You have to focus and refocus to keep the images sharp – and after two hours you end up with the same kind of repetitive stress in your eye muscles that the keyboard causes in your wrists. It won't cause permanent damage, but here are some tips to minimize eye stress:
If your eye is injured, it’s tempting to think you can just flush it out with some cold water and it will be fine. However, it’s not easy to judge the extent or severity of any eye injury, so you should always get immediate, professional medical attention. Here are some steps you can take in the event of an eye injury:
It’s not easy to judge the extent or severity of any eye injury, so you should always get immediate, professional medical attention.The following symptoms may signal serious eye injury:
To be competitive on the playing field you need peak performance from your entire body – and your eyes are no exception. Sports vision is "full-scope," and primary eye care can help you optimize these three key visual skills:
What visual skills do you need?
Every sport has unique demands: depth perception, peripheral vision, eye-hand coordination. And every sport poses unique challenges: glare, wind, haze, and close encounters with moving objects. To win, you need to conquer them all.
Make every sport a contact lens sport
Contact lenses are ideal for athletes. They offer a more natural vision correction option than spectacles. Contact lenses can increase peripheral vision. You can wear protective eyewear over them – such as goggles or sunglasses. And you can quit worrying about broken frames or lenses. Plus, contact lenses won’t fog up, slide down, or fall off. All of which adds up to better vision when you need it most.
1. All About Vision. (2014) Nutrition for Healthy Eyes. Available at: [http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/nutrition_summary.htm]
2. Review of Optometry. (2015) Omega-3s What they can do for you. Available at: [https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/article/omega3s-what-they-can-do-for-you]
3. RNIB. Nutrition and the eye. Available at: [http://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health-looking-after-your-eyes/nutrition-and-eye]
4. The Journal of Neuroscience. (2014) Aerobic Exercise Protects Retinal Function and Structure from Light-Induced Retinal Degeneration. Available at: [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921416/]
5. WebMD. Can Pregnancy affect Your Eyes? (2016). Avialbale at: [http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/pregnancy-and-vision]
6. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2016) Preventing Eye Injuries. Available at: [https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/preventing-injuries]
7. Ohio Ophthalmological Society. Why sports eye safety? Available at: [http://www.ohioeye.org/aws/OOS/pt/sp/programs_phdb]
8. College of Optometrists. Look after your eyes. Available at: ]http://lookafteryoureyes.org/eye-care/diy/]
9. Association of British Dispensing Opticians. What sort of eye protection do I need for my job? Available at: [http://www.abdo.org.uk/information-for-the-public/eyecare-faq/safety-glasses-and-eyewear-for-work/]
10. All About Vision. (2017) Computer Vision Syndrome and computer glasses. Available at: [http://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/faqs.htm]
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