How important is eye health?
Most Australians (90%) say that sight is their most valued sense . While some eye conditions are caused by genes or ageing, you can reduce your risk of many eye conditions by caring for your eyes and leading a healthy lifestyle.
How do you care for your eyes?
Have a regular eye test. Regular eye check-ups are recommended for everyone according to Vision Australia. Examinations with a registered eye care practitioner (optometrist or ophthalmologist) are recommended every second year. Around 90% of blindness and vision impairment in Australia is preventable or treatable if detected early.
Protect your eyes from Ultraviolet (UV) light.
In Australia you are exposed to 15% more UV radiation than people in Europe. Exposure to UV light has been shown to contribute to eye diseases; so protecting your eyes by wearing sunglasses with good UV protection and a hat is important in reducing the risk to your eyes.
Most prescribed lenses will have good UV protection already, but speak to your optometrist about whether you need more.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Eating lots of leafy green vegetables, Omega 3 fatty acids (from fish and linseeds), vitamin E and C, Zinc and Selenium can help prevent or slow progression of macular degeneration in some people.
Eating well and exercising regularly also helps prevent diabetes which is a high contributor to vision loss in Australia. Smoking is linked to macular degeneration and a cause of cardiovascular disease which may itself affect your eyes and vision.
Protect your eyes from hazards.
Sixty per cent of eye injuries happen at work and most incidents are preventable. Your safety is important, always follow safety directions and use safety equipment. At home, use safety glasses when there is a risk of eye injury such as mowing the lawn.
Have your family members’ eyes tested.
According to Vision Australia, studies show that over 60 per cent of people with ‘poor vision’ only need glasses to improve both their vision and quality of life. There is a link between poor vision and falls among older Australians and among children, many can’t communicate that their vision is blurry.
Sixty per cent of children identified as ‘problem learners’ are challenged by ‘poor vision’.
Your eyes are important and you will need them to be healthy for a long time. Take care of them.