It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but they are also the windows through which people are able to perceive the world around them. Fortunately, taking care of them isn’t difficult, and many of the steps that should be taken to keep eyes healthy will be good for overall health too. Australian behavioural optometrist, Master of Optometry, and fellow of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control (FIAOMC), Gary Rodney shares his top five tips plus risk-factors of which many people are unaware.
1. Never Miss an Eye Appointment
During routine eye tests, optometrists do basic screening for eye problems that are serious enough to cause blindness if left untreated. Early detection is key to the successful treatment of conditions like glaucoma, so eye examinations are much more than a simple matter of ensuring that glasses prescriptions are still correct. It’s a health check that could save people’s eyesight.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is the time when the body rests, recuperates, and recovers from the rigors of the day. If they aren’t getting enough sleep, people may notice that their eyes are dry and feel gritty and sore. That’s because tear fluid circulates best when the eyes are closed, lubricating the eyeball. Dry eyes can lead to more serious problems, and they’re not the only eye problem that might be experienced among people who don’t get enough sleep.
New research indicates that there’s a link between disruption of the circadian rhythm and myopia. Short-sighted people tend to sleep badly and have disturbed sleeping patterns, leading researchers to suggest a link between blue light from screens, disturbed sleep, and myopia.
So lay off the coffee at night, avoid the TV, smartphone, or computer before bedtime since the light can convince the body that it’s still daytime, get comfy, and get the seven hours of sleep adults need for both eye health and overall health.
3. Take a Break from the Screen
Looking at screens for long hours can cause eye strain. After all, the muscles that the eyes use to focus are locked into a single position for a long time. People also don’t blink as often as they should when looking at screens, so they might start experiencing dry eyes.
To overcome this, they might need to remind themselves to blink, but they should also rest their eyes briefly every 5 minutes or so. Simply look at something far away for 2-3 seconds before returning them to the screen. Every 30 minutes for an adult (15 minutes for a child) have a complete 10 minute break from looking at the screen. It’s also worth remembering that the viewing distance for screens may not be ideal for ordinary glasses, so consider getting a special pair that’s made for computer work.
4. Protect Against UV Light and Workplace Hazards
Those who spend a lot of time outdoors will probably remember the importance of sunblock. But don’t forget to protect the eyes too. Excessive exposure to UV light can cause long-term damage, so wear a good pair of sunglasses.
When working on tasks that require eye protection, whether at home or at work, be sure to use the correct protective eyewear. Eye injuries are more common than they should be, and they often occur because people have dispensed with eye protection when working with tools.
5. Eat Well and Drink Plenty of Water
Eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking enough fluids contributes towards better all-round health. It’s a commonsense tip that everybody knows but not everybody practices. “A great many people are suboptimally hydrated,” says Gary. “An American study found that 43 percent of adults aren’t drinking enough fluids and that places strain on every system in the body as well as the eyes.”
Easy, but Requires Awareness and a Little Commitment
Although Gary’s advice may seem sensible, solid, and relatively obvious, he says that many people simply aren’t aware of the things they can do to take care of their eye health. “Good health requires partnership with healthcare professionals, and optometrists should be on every person’s team along with their GPs and dentists.”
In closing, Gary advises people to act quickly if they experience vision changes or vision-related symptoms. Coupled with the components of a healthy lifestyle, this ensures the maintenance of healthy eyes and could add up to stronger vision and improved eye health in the longer-term.
For more information on vision and the importance of eye health, or to book an appointment for a thorough eye or vision check-up, visit the Smart Vision website: Optometrists Sydney: Optometry Services For Children and Adults | Smart Vision; for specific information about Myopia treatment and prevention visit Myopia Prevention: Solutions, Control And Treatment In Sydney; and for detailed information about Myopia Treatment visit Orthokeratology In Sydney: The Non Surgical Alternative.
To book an appointment for a thorough eye check-up, click here or Call the Bondi clinic on (02) 9365 5047 or the Mosman clinic on (02) 9969 1600.