Eye health tips: 5 steps you must take to look after your eyes

Take charge of your eye health

5 essential steps you must take to look after your eyes

Many of us take our eyes for granted, until they cause problems.

In fact, we often worry more about the wrinkles around our eyes than we do our eyes themselves, which is madness when you think about it!

I’ve found that the problem is many people don’t realise they can make a difference to their eye health. They assume their eyesight is determined by fate – by genetics and factors beyond their control.

And while this is true to an extent, there is actually a lot we can do – and must do – to maintain good eyesight.

Here are my top 5 daily habits for good eye health:

1. Protect your eyes from UV

Why are UV rays so bad for our eyes? UV doesn’t just cause skin cancer (and by the way, your eyelids are one of the most common places for skin cancer).

Long-term exposure to UV can lead to increased risk of cataracts and pterygia.

Strong UV protection is imperative. Choose sunglasses with a minimum Sunglass Standards category of 2 – even for your children. Wear them whenever you’re outdoors.

We offer beautiful prescription sunglasses, so you can wear them all the time, even when you’re driving or playing sport.

And stay out of the sun between 11 and 3 during warmer months.

2. Eat healthy

What you eat affects your eye health. And fortunately, foods that are good for your eyes are also good for your body and mind.

A long-term US clinical trial, called the age-related eye disease study (AREDS), found that a diet high in antioxidants and omega oils helps reduce dry eyes and macular degeneration in older people.

Try to add more of these kinds of foods to your weekly diet:

  • Oily fish such as salmon or sardines
  • Berries (any kind, including blueberries and strawberries. Kakadu plums have the highest antioxidant content of any food in the world).
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Green tea.

3. Get more sleep

If you’re looking for more excuses to sleep, this is it! Turn off that device and close your eyes early tonight.

Lack of sleep can exacerbate dry eye, eye strain and cause eye spasms.

Sleep helps your eyes in two main ways:

  1. It gives your eyes a chance to get the nutrients and moisture they need to restore and rejuvenate.
  2. It gives your eye muscles a rest. Although there is eye movement during some sleep phases, this doesn’t tire your muscles in the same way that focusing does.

4. Limit devices

I know, I know, you’ve heard it before – too much smart phone and tablet use is bad for your eyes. Especially late at night. But it’s true.

Too much use of digital devices, including computers, can lead to increased risk of myopia (short sightedness) as well as digital eye strain. (Read our blog on digital eye strain and how to reduce it).

Take regular screen breaks every 20 minutes, and try to limit your usage unless absolutely necessary.

5. Get regular eye checks

As you get older, serious changes to your eyes can occur quickly. Plus, some conditions can progress quite far before you even notice the symptoms. Eye conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration can cause irreversible damage if not detected early.

In some instances, thorough eye checks using advanced techniques are the only way to check for damage.

Make sure you get your eyes checked at least every two years if you’re under 65, or once a year if you’re over 65. Medicare covers standard eye tests.

Conclusion

Your daily habits can have a lasting effect on your eye health. Look after your eyes through UV protection, diet, sleep, limited devices and eye checks, so you can keep your vision as clear as possible for as long as possible.

If you are concerned about changes in your vision or eye health, pop in to Kofsky Optometry in Rose Bay for an eye test. You can book online here any time.

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