Eye Care 101
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 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.
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.
With normal vision, you should be able to see these two cheeky chappies easily.
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.
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.
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 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 (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?
Eye Health Links
- Slideshow: Eye Diseases - Recognize These Common Eye Conditions on eMedicineHealth.com
Learn about the warning signs and symptoms of common eye diseases and conditions through this slideshow of images. See eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, pink eye, macular degeneration and more that can cause damage and blindness if not dete
- National Eye Institute, USA: Healthy Eyes
Eye health information and resources for the public and professionals.
- National Eye Institute, USA: Diabetic Eye Disease Consumer Website
Diabetic eye disease, health information and resources for the public and professionals.
- Diabetic eye problems
If you have diabetes, regular eye examinations are important to detect and treat eye problems. These should be arranged by your diabetes health team as part of regular tests and screening.
- National Eye Institute, USA: Low Vision Consumer Website
Information about low vision. Promoting independence through vision rehabilitation.
- National Eye Institute, USA: Glaucoma, causes of blindness
Information about Glaucoma and vision loss
- Cataracts and your eyes
Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens of the eye that can impair your vision. We help you understand the warning signs and how they can be treated.
- Diabetic retinopathy picture, screening, treatments, and more
We look at diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition that occurs as a result of high blood sugar in those with diabetes.
- Public Health Education Programs [NEI Education Programs]
NEHEP public health education programs informing patients, the public, and health care professionals about diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and low vision.
Useful eyecare products
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?