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Eye Care 101

Updated on November 20, 2014

Simple Tips For Healthy Eyes

Good vision is a wonderful thing. Until we have a problem with our vision, we don't tend to think about eye care. Most of us are very fortunate to be born with two working eyes and a strong sense of sight. We use our sense of sight, our vision, to navigate around our environment, to find food, to see dangers around us, and to communicate.

The eyes of the Mona Lisa appear to be gazing at you no matter where you stand. Her eyes focus on us, and we focus on her eyes. At one moment, shes seems to be smiling, at others, she seems serious. Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece is enigmatic... we don't know what to think.

But some things are very clear: our eyes are our window on the world, and they are the world's window on our health. It is important to look after the health of our eyes, so here I offer you some simple tips and useful information.

Be as Healthy as you can

Has anyone in your family had an eye health issue? Has anyone been diagnosed with an hereditary eye condition? Be aware, talk to your family members and find out! If so, you might be at a higher risk of problems, so ask your eye-care professional about the checks or tests you should have.

Don't smoke. Either don't start, or quit! Smoking is linked to an increased risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and damage to the optic nerve - any of these conditions can lead to blindness. See the images below which simulate some of these conditions.

This photo is in the public domain because it is the work of a United States Department of Agriculture employee.

Food and Drink

It is crucial to eat a balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and to maintain a healthy weight. Colourful veggies, like carrots, spinach and kale are full of nutrients beneficial to the eyes. The omega-3 fatty acids, found in tuna, salmon and halibut, have benefits too. Try to avoid putting on too much weight, as this can increase your risk of diabetes and other conditions which can affect your vision. See below to discover the effects of diabetic eye diseases - cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma - on your vision.

It's also important to drink water, lots of water, to keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration can reduce the tear flow in your eyes, potentially damaging them. It can also dry the delicate tissues around the eyes.

Vegetable display at Jersey West Show, public domain

Value Your Vision!

Take Care of Your Eyes

You should blink frequently to keep up the protective tear flow over your eyes. This is particularly important for computer users who spend a lot of time focusing on the screen, and sometimes forget to blink. Rest your eyes using the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes or so, look away at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you would like more information on computer vision syndrome, check out my lens on Simple ways to avoid computer vision syndrome.

Wear your glasses or contact lenses to avoid eyestrain. In the sun, wear your shades, to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays. When buying sunglasses, look for the ones that block out both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

Wash your hands before touching your eyes or the area around them. To avoid infection, clean and replace contact lenses as directed by your eye-care professional, and always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses.

Wear eye protection appropriate to the sports or activities you are doing - safety glasses, goggles, safety shields, and eye guards. Most protective eyewear is made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics - make sure you buy the best you can afford.

In the workplace, employers are required to provide a safe working environment. If eye protection is required for a task, make sure you wear it, and encourage your workmates to do the same.

This photo has been released into the public domain by Jpogi at the wikipedia project.

Computer Reading Glasses

The best computer glasses are designed by eye care professionals to provide the corrective lens power for a clear view and to eliminate postural problems like head bobbing and neck strain.

PC Peekers Computer Glasses
PC Peekers Computer Glasses

PC Peekers computer glasses are designed by eye care professionals, but don't need a prescription. Made of polycarbonate plastic, they provide UV protection. They rest behind your current prescription lenses and provide a clearer and wider zone of vision.

 
GAMMA RAY FLEXLITE GR OR-005 Computer Readers Glasses in Shatterproof Memory Flex Frame Anti Harmful Glare, UV and Blue Light
GAMMA RAY FLEXLITE GR OR-005 Computer Readers Glasses in Shatterproof Memory Flex Frame Anti Harmful Glare, UV and Blue Light

Very comfortable computer glasses which alleviate visual stress, eye fatigue, irritation, dry eyes, and headaches. The innovative frames are lightweight, flexible and tough. Anti-glare and scratch resistant.

 

Take Prompt Action

Each day, ask yourself if you can see well, and if your eyes look and feel OK. If you notice any changes, visit your eye-care professional. Prompt diagnosis and treatment may save you from long-term problems.

Many people don't realize that they are developing eye problems, or that they could see better with glasses or contact lenses, so regular check-ups are essential. Your eye-care professional may detect the signs of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration, and will be able to advise ypu on the treatment options available.

The Snellen eye chart is public domain.

Normal Vision

With normal vision, you should be able to see these two cheeky chappies easily.

Myopia

For someone with myopia, short-sight, distant objects are not clearly focussed. The ball, in the foreground, is in clearer focus than the boys faces. This common condition can normally be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Cataract

For a person with cataracts, the scene is not in focus. Distance isn't the issue here. The lens of the eye is clouded, obscuring the path of light to the retina, at the back of the eye. This condition can be cured by surgery.

Glaucoma

In glaucoma, the fluid pressure inside the eyes rises, this can damage the optic nerve. If untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment, can help protect your eyes against serious loss of vision loss.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the group of eye disorders that are referred to as Diabetic Eye Disease. The others are cataract and glaucoma. In diabetic retinopathy, vision loss is caused by the blood vessels of the retina swelling and leaking fluid, or sometimes abnormal new blood vessels can grow on the surface of the retina.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of vision loss in people aged over 50. It gradually destroys the macula, the crucial part of the eye needed for seeing objects clearly. The loss of central vision in AMD can make it difficult to drive, read or recognise faces. It can progress slowly in some people, but in others it can lead to rapid vision loss.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) affects around 1.5 million people worldwide. It is an inherited retinal condition causing the progressive deterioration of the light-absorbing cells in the retina, causing loss of peripheral vision. Effectively, it destroys the camera lens.

As RP develops, and the cells degenerate, the individual can develop night blindness and loss of peripheral vision. Most will develop tunnel vision by the age of forty, although some may retain good central vision. They will continue to lose their remaining sight, and may become blind between the ages of 50 and 80.

With thanks to the National Eye Institute !

The National Eye Institute (NEI) is part of the USA government's National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Apart from research and training, it also works to educate and share information about eye health, the preservation of sight, the various visual disorders and eye diseases, and the particular health issues of the blind.

The images, above, of the two boys were produced by NEI to simulate the effects of different eye conditions, the photos are all public domain.

Top Quality Rayban Sunglasses

It's also important to protect your eyes from strong sunlight and UV radiation. We all know that Raybans have an excellent reputation. Click the picture for more information or to see more choices of these great sunglasses

Have your say

Some people have laser treatment to reshape the cornea at the front of the eye, allowing the eyes to focus correctly. The idea is to reduce the need to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Would you have laser treatment to avoid wearing glasses?

I had surgery for a torn retina a few years ago. One evening, I began to see flashing lights that didn't seem to exist! The following morning, I realized that the flashs were occuring when I moved my head, so I took a trip to our local hosptial. Fortunately, the surgery was reasonably successful. Can you share any experiences that could help others?

Share your experiences

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    • profile image

      robmonty88 3 years ago

      Love the lens, people need to start thinking about their eyes and what they can do to take care of them better. Thanks for the helpful information.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 3 years ago

      Love your lens! I can relate to this since I am shortsighted. Sundae ;-)

    • tysam lm profile image

      tysam lm 3 years ago

      Congrats on your LOTD! I especially like that you added photos that show how you actually "see" with the different problems..

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 3 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I couldn't post in the debate above so I'll share here - am too shortsighted for laser surgery, they could improve my eyesight of course but would still need to wear glasses, and as I prefer wearing contacts, it's a no go for me because contacts don't sit well over laser treated eyes. I am shortsighted with astigmatism in one eye, and am a bit of a famed anomaly with my optician - I first saw him when I was 4 as I had started squinting, my eyesight rapidly deteriorated and they couldn't work out why, I even baffled the specialists, then my vision just stopped at a certain point and has stayed the same ever since (around -11!). Still see the same optician 30 years later, and he still always ponders what caused it every year! ;)

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Washington State

      My eyesight will never be 20/20, I found the information here very helpful! A great reminder to give our eyes a break and treat them right. Congrats on LOTD, great eye stuff on here! I found the computer glasses you listed as something I am going to try before contacts. Worth the shot for the price!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 3 years ago

      I've always been blessed with good vision. I try to take good care of my eyes. Vision isn't something I care to jeopardize.

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      I have terrible vision, so I especially found your article interesting and useful. I plan on having laser eye surgery done in the future, although right now I wear contacts or glasses.

    • profile image

      aswahayah 3 years ago

      Good vision is especially important to us that we should correct eye, should protection eye.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      I'm currently wearing glasses but I am planning on getting Lasik Plus ASAP. Excellent lens with a lot of great information. Congratulations on a well deserved LotD!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I love the pictorial representation of the different eye issues. I am familiar with all of them and what they are, but somehow seeing them all visually displayed made it clearer (or put it into focus -- pun intended).

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      Cataract surgery with a replacement corrective lens. I haven't seen this clearly since 3rd grade. Absolutely effing amazing!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      I'm booked in with an eye surgeon tomorrow to talk through my glaucoma surgery options. I'd really rather not have surgery, but I dint want to lose my sight either so it's about balancing those fears.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      @ckatheman: The eye puff test isn't really a good clinical one, it's more of a quick and dirty indicator to suggest a proper pressure test.

    • lovedislife profile image

      Rema T V 3 years ago

      Hi Julie,

      Hearty congratulations on LOTD. Great lens. It is important to take care of my eyes not only because they let me see the world around me but also due to the fact that I could donate them to provide vision to a blind person after my time on this earth is over.

      Recently I completed a few formalities in connection with eye donation, along with my family members including my parents and my daughter. I was associated with several blind students during my younger days, reading for them, and I realize the difficulties of living a life devoid of vision. I can't imagine such a life but every one of us with good vision should give eye donation a serious thought. Thanks for sharing this beautiful lens :)

      Rema

    • profile image

      Ibidii 3 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!! I have all kinds of eye issues you can read about on my lenses. It is very important to see an eye care specialist if you have any symptoms. I was lucky to have surgery to help my detachments when I did. I cannot have the cataract removed however as my eye is too delicate. But I make the best of what I have left while I can. In preparation I attended Blind school. I have a care giver to help me, my daughter who I live with. Great information here.

    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 3 years ago

      Great information. I personally don't want to have my eyes operated on but I understand where other people need it. I am sure there are a lot of anecdotal stories about the effect of such surgery. It is the weird and bad experiences that get all the press

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      To date all I have are over the counter reading glasses, and hoping it stays that way. A great lens and very informative, Congratulations on LOTD!! Well deserved :)

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      My husband recently had cataract surgery and has been amazed at how much better he can see. And, everything is so much brighter! Congratulations on LotD!

    • Fiorenza profile image

      Fiorenza 3 years ago from UK

      I saw a documentary tabout eye problems that showed when spinach was eaten daily by a trial of patients with macular degeneration, they had positive results compared to the control group. This is because spinach -contains lutein.

    • ckatheman profile image

      ckatheman 3 years ago

      They are finding more and more that higher intra-ocular pressures (ocular hypertension) don't mean glaucoma - and in a lot of cases pressure isn't involved at all. My family has a history of ocular hypertension but no glaucoma, so the two are not one in the same.

      Also, anyone who has a high reading on the air puff test should also have their corneal thickness measured as it will throw the readings much higher.

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 3 years ago

      Nice job on being awarded the Lens of the day and the Purple Star. Cheers

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I am hoping I will continue to be blessed with good eyesight throughout my life. I get so much joy from the beauty around me. Very important topic. Congrats on LotD!

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 3 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: Thanks for your support and your comments. Vision is a treasure!

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 3 years ago

      @Merrci: Thanks Merrci!

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 3 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks for your support Susan. Pleased to see that you are following doctor's advice about your eye!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Congratulations on LotD! Such good information to share, and so important! Thanks!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      My mother had a detached retina a few years ago and, unfortunately, she never has gained back acceptable vision in that eye. My eye doctor actually recommends that I take lutein to prevent a minor eye problem from becoming bad and I'm happy to say that my eye is doing well. I've been "blind as a bat" most of my life, so I'm looking forward to having perfect vision in heaven! Congratulations on your very important Lens of the Day!

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Very well put together and informative lens. Thanks!

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 3 years ago

      @Dressage Husband: Thanks for your support Stephen. I hope your eye problem doesn't progress to the point of needing surgery!

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 3 years ago

      @TerriCarr: That must be very hard for him. Let's hope the research gets quick results for people with macular degeneration.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Luckily my sight still responds to glasses well. I have been told I have a small glaucoma developing that may need surgery in the next few years, however it is not bothering me enough just yet. Well done on an interesting and informative LOTD!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      My boss has myopic macular degeneration. He can barely see at all. Luckily there is more and more progress each year.

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 3 years ago

      @GrammieOlivia: Thanks for your support - I do hope people will find this informations useful!

    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 3 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: Wow, sorry to hear about your fall. But fantastic news that the surgeons were able to save your sight. Good wishes for your continuing recovery!

    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 3 years ago

      @Nancy Hardin: Thanks for your support Nancy!

    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 3 years ago

      @SteveKaye: Yes, they are very helpful. Also, I once took part in an awareness day where we were given glasses that mimicked different eye conditions and asked to perform everyday tasks. That was fascinating and shocking at the same time.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Great information on this lens and a good read for everyone. Congratulations of LoTD! Well deserved and awesome.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      I just recently had a bad fall and broke my eye orbit in 3 places. Emergency surgery later, and, thankfully, my eye and sight was saved. This article is so very important - everyone should read this!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Congratulations on LOTD! This is a really exceptional lens. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      It's great when surgery works, but it isn't always an option for everyone. There are some cataracts that it doesn't work on in my experience. Then I know several people who have had surgery and it was a wonderful success. I think it depends on the individual and the circumstances. Good information and photos for those who do have a choice.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      I really liked the examples of different eye disorders. This could be very helpful for people who are trying to figure out what's happening with their eyes.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      I really appreciate the photos that help me see what people with substandard vision see. I've always had 20/10 vision and often see things clearly at double the distance of everyone else.

    • sharonbellis profile image

      Sharon Bellissimo 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      I wear glasses but so far my eyes are pretty healthy. The pictures of the boys demonstrating the different vision issues is excellent. Thanks for that, it gives me a better understanding.

    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 5 years ago

      @writerkath: best of luck with your continuing eye care!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      My vision is about 20/700 or worse - and I feel blessed that I can actually see with corrective lenses. I'm a tad nervous about having anything done to my eyes. But, I'm overdue for a visit to my eye doctor. I do a little "yoga for the eyes" occasionally, but need to work more at it.

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 5 years ago

      Wow I learned something new..

    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 5 years ago

      @EMangl: That's a great tip! Hydration is very important. Thanks for visitng this lens.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      last winter i had problems seeing after sitting too long behind the pc; problem was gone quickly after doc told me to drink more water :-)

    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 5 years ago

      @treasuresabound: Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    • treasuresabound profile image

      treasuresabound 5 years ago

      I quite enjoyed this lens. It is very vital we take care of our eyes and thanks for showing all the defective stages.

    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 5 years ago

      @OhMe: Thanks for your visit, and your kind comment!

    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 5 years ago

      @marigoldina: Sorry to hear about your grandmother. I hope it doesn't cause her too many problems, and that it skips your generation too!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I sure enjoyed reading and learning more about Eye Care. Thank you

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 5 years ago

      My grandmother suffers from glaucoma and apparently, it skips generations. I have to be very careful. Very nice page :-)