No matter what your level of vision, it is important to look after your eye health and protect whatever sight you do have. There are a number of factors that can exacerbate or contribute to certain conditions, so it is important to be aware of them. The list below explains what you can do to take care of your eyes.
Have Regular Eye Tests
It is recommended that people have an eye test every two years. A regular eye test can identify any early indications of diseases, some of which are treatable if caught early. It is important to maximise any useful vision you have by wearing the best possible prescription, your optometrist can help you with this.
Your eye is a complex organ that needs oxygen to survive; smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, so less oxygen reaches the eye. This causes oxidative stress and damages the retina and also causes cell death to retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. Smoking is a risk factor for developing age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Stopping smoking can stop or reverse damage to the eyes, depending on the severity of the condition. Passive or second-hand smoke also causes damage to the eye and should be avoided. You can find information about how to quit smoking at www.quit.ie.
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s rays can cause damage to your eyes. To reduce risks always wear sunglasses when in the sun. Check your shades have a UV factor rating and block 100 per cent of UV rays. Your sunglasses should carry the CE mark, which indicates that they meet European safety standards. Close-fitting wraparound glasses will block more light and offer better protection. Be aware that UV rays can still cause damage when it is cloudy and overcast.
Eat the Right Food
Some foods can help protect against certain eye conditions, like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, due to the specific nutrients they contain. These nutrients are called lutein or zeaxanthin, and are found in many fruits and vegetables including mango, squash, broccoli, green beans, and spinach.
Take Regular Screen Breaks
If you use a computer, take frequent breaks from your screen – at least once an hour. Resting your eyes can help you avoid headaches, eyestrain and soreness.