5 Ways to Protect Your Vision
With people spending more time in front of screens, looking after our eye health has never been more important. We only have one pair of eyes, and keeping them healthy is critical for our well-being and success through life's journey. Here are some tips for protecting your vision.
One of the best things you can do for your entire body, not just your eyes. Smoking causes oxidative damage to your eyes, effecting the macula and is a prime risk factor for macular degeneration. This is a major cause of irreversible blindness in old age. Make the right choices now for your eyes and your body. Even passive smoking can be harmful – try to limit your exposure to smoking as much as possible.
Bright ultraviolet light can also cause harm to your eyes, accelerating the development of cataracts, pterygiums and may accelerate macular damage. In bright sunlight remember to wear sunglasses; and wrap-around protection is the best.
Take breaks from screens
Dry eye syndrome is common and causes discomfort, watery and red eyes. There are many causes of dry eyes –age, hormones, exposure to wind, air conditioning and heating systems; as well as regular some preserved topical eye drops (eg for glaucoma). Allergies to pollens or dust can often exacerbate dry eyes. Excessive screen use can often cause us to subconsciously blink less, and this combined with the bright lights near our eyes increases the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
Breaks from screens are important, as well as minimising glare and reflections from screens in your environment. Disturbed sleep can also impact on dry eyes – so minimise screen-time before bed. Often devices have night-time modes which minimise the bluer hues in the spectrum; this can also improve sleep quality if you do use screens at night.
Eat well and be holistically healthy
In general, what’s good for the body is good for the eyes. A healthy diet with plenty of fresh food, fruit and vegetables full of vitamins (C, B3 for example); healthy, poly-unsaturated oils such as those found in nuts and some fish is good for your eyes, similar to the Mediterranean diet. Exercise and be fit, avoid excessive weight gain and sedentary activities. Sleep well and keep your mind healthy – meditation, crafts and hobbies, and other mindful activities are great to relieve stress and calm the mind. Spending time with loved ones, and in nature, are great for a healthy mind and this is reflected in the health of our bodies and eyes.
Get your eyes checked regularly
Despite all of the above, it is important to have a relationship with an eye care clinician whom you trust. They will not only provide you with any spectacles you need but will check your eyes for any potentially harmful conditions. For common eye diseases such as glaucoma, early detection can prevent further problems. Often such care can be provided by an Optometrist or Optician, however sometimes the input of a medical specialist Ophthalmologist is required.