Can you imagine a life without being able to see properly? Or worse, a life of blindness? It’s easy to take your sight for granted, but we rely on our eyes for almost everything we do.
Looking after your eyes and keeping them healthy is one of the most important things you can do and it’s actually quite easy.
July is Glaucoma Awareness Month so it’s time to think about your eyes and just how precious they are. Glaucoma is the number one preventable cause of blindness in New Zealand. It can be prevented by early detection and appropriate treatment. While older people are most at risk, it can affect people of all ages including babies.
Here are our top five tips for keeping your eyes healthy.
1. Have regular eye examinations
You may think your eyes are healthy but the only way to really know is to have regular eye examinations. A regular eye examination checks your vision and assesses whether you need glasses or a new prescription. It also assesses the general health of your eyes and, using special tests, can check for things like:
- Glaucoma (optic nerve damage, often associated with pressure in the eye).
- Macular degeneration (deterioration of the retina).
- Cataracts (cloudy areas in the lens of the eye).
Although glaucoma can’t be cured, if detected early enough, it can be treated with eye drops, tablets, laser treatment or surgery.
2. Eat healthy food
Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is good for all aspects of your health. Dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach are particularly good for your eyes. Dark berries, such as blueberries and blackberries, and oily fish are also good for your eyes. Don’t forget about carrots – they really are good for your eyes.
3. Don’t smoke
We all know that smoking is bad for our general health and that includes our eyes. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and other eye problems.
4. Wear your sunglasses
We all like to look cool in our sunnies, but their real benefit is protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
5. Watch your screen time
Staring at a computer or any type of screen for too long is bad for your eyes. It can cause eyestrain, headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes and trouble focusing at a distance. Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet into the distance for 20 seconds.