Sight is, without doubt, one of the essential senses necessary to function effectively and to enjoy an excellent quality of life. According to the World Health Organization, a whopping 2.2 billion people worldwide suffer from eye diseases and visual impairment. Therefore, it is crucial for you to take better care of your eyes so that you preserve your sight for as long as possible.
If you’re not sure how to take better care of your vision, here are four better eye health tips to get you started.
Better Eye Health Tips #1 Visit your eye care practitioner frequently
Ophthalmologists and optometrists specialise in eye health, so prioritise visiting these experts to have your eyes checked regularly. Experts recommend visiting your eye care practitioner every five to ten years during your 20s and 30s if you don’t have any vision problems, especially if you use a computer regularly and you’re exposed to blue light. However, your visits may need to be more frequent if you have a vision problem or eye condition. For instance, if you experience uveitis, your eye care practitioner can recommend chronic uveitis treatments that can help you manage your situation best.
As you age your vision declines and you're more prone to getting eye conditions. So, if you're in your 40s, 50s and beyond, then it's recommended that you visit an eye specialist at least one every two to three years. If you wear glasses and you notice that you cannot see as clearly or you are experiencing headaches, then get your eyes checked.
Better Eye Health Tips #2 Quit smoking
Many people associate smoking with lung cancer and heart disease, but vision loss is also one of smoking’s side effects, and it often goes undetected. If you smoke 15 cigarettes or more daily, you are reportedly three times more likely to develop cataracts than a non-smoker. Similarly, you are twice as likely to develop dry eye syndrome as a smoker compared to a non-smoker. Diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are other eye conditions you can avoid if you quit smoking.
Better Eye Health Tips #3 Wear UV protective sunglasses
It is common knowledge that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are harmful to your eyes, so wearing UV protective sunglasses is an excellent way to shield your eyes from these dangerous rays. Long-term exposure to UV light can damage your cornea and lens, eventually causing eye cancers and cataracts. In addition, you can develop pterygium and other growths on your eye if you spend long hours under the scorching midday sun.
Another UV related condition is snow blindness, a unique form of photokeratitis that occurs after continuous exposure to UV reflections of ice, water, sand, or snow. Therefore it is recommended that you always wear UV protective sunglasses when in below-freezing temperatures or near reflective surfaces, even when it is cloudy. Also, look for sunglasses with stickers that specify that the lenses block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Better Eye Health Tips #4 Use your contact lenses properly
A reported 45 million people in the US and 680,000 Australians aged between 15 and 64 years wear contact lenses. Although these lenses improve vision for many wearers, properly managing them is crucial to ensure they don’t cause more harm than good. For instance, wearing your contact lenses for long periods can cause extreme eye discomfort and permanent vision damage in severe cases. As such, do not wear your contact lenses for more than 19 hours daily.
Additionally, never sleep with these lenses in unless your eye specialist recommends it, as your eyes require regular oxygen supply to maintain their healthiness. It is also suggested that you don’t swim while wearing contact lenses unless you are wearing swimming goggles. Finally, always wash your hands before handling these lenses, and follow all other instructions concerning using your contacts to ensure good eye hygiene.
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