Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Our eyes are essential to most parts of our lives, but it’s easy to take them for granted. Here are a few things we should be aware of in order to maintain or improve our eye health:
Wearing the right sunglasses protects your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Without
any eye protection, UV rays can cause damage to the macula and the cornea, and can lead to macular degeneration. It’s also possible to get sunburn on the eyes when sunlight is reflected on bright surfaces, such as water or snow.
Wearing dark glasses that have no UV protection can be very dangerous, as the dark lenses cause your pupils to dilate and let in more light than would be let in without any sunglasses.
Screen can also have a detrimental effect on our eyes. Spending too long looking at a screen can cause short-term issues such as eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, or dry eyes, and in some extreme cases long-term damage could be caused to retina cells.
You can reduce the risk of damage by adjusting the brightness of the screen to match the surrounding light, using a blue light filter or blue light glasses, and taking frequent breaks from looking at the screen.
If you’re a contact lens wearer, there are more risks to your eye health that you need to be aware of. Contact lenses rarely harm the cornea, but sleeping in them can be very risky. Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before putting them in, and avoid getting any water on them.
If you notice any issues, remove your lenses immediately. Washing your eye with sterile salt water will clean it (NOT tap water), and if the problem persists see an eye doctor as soon as possible.
A healthy diet can significantly reduce the risk of eye health problems. Foods high in Omega-3s and Vitamins A, E and C are all beneficial for the eyes - and these can be found in legumes, nuts, seeds, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and most red/orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and peppers.
Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water is also important for eye health.
Everyone should get regular eye exams, especially if you’re a glasses or contact lens wearer, or have family history of eye conditions. As well as checking your eyesight, the optician will also check your overall eye health.
Another benefit of having regular check-ups is that your eyes can help to identify some medical conditions before other symptoms appear - such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and inflammatory conditions.