How to look after your eyes

We all know how powerful the sense of sight is – but when we think of body health, we often don’t think about what our eyes need.

The good news is a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of eye conditions and other health problems like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Here are some of the ways you can keep your eyes as healthy as possible.

Eat a healthy diet

Make sure you’re eating a wide range of healthy foods like vegies and fruit, grains / cereals, lean meats and dairy. This is good for your whole body – and that includes your eyes.

Nutrients like zinc, copper, vitamin C and E, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are found in foods like fruit and veg, oily fish, beef and eggs – and all help to keep eyes healthy

Exercise regularly

We know regular exercise keeps our body healthy, but did you know it’s also a great way to look after your eyes?

Studies show exercise can reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise can also help prevent or manage type two diabetes, high cholesterol or blood pressure

Quit smoking for good

Smoking can lead to vision loss and blindness – another reason to get rid of that habit for good. If you smoke, you’ll be at greater risk of conditions like age related macular degenerationcataractsglaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Manage diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol

It’s important to stay on top of a diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol diagnosis, because if they’re not managed they can cause sight threatening eye diseases. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the country.

Get a good pair of sunglasses

It’s no surprise that our eyes are as affected by sun exposure as our skin is. UV exposure can cause eye problems like cataracts and pterygium and can damage the cornea and retina.

Get yourself a quality pair of sunglasses that has Australian Standard Compliant labelling - and look for a category 2 or 3 for day to day use. Any glasses labelled as ‘fashion spectacles’ offer limited absorption of UV rays. Larger frames and wrap around glasses offer the best sun protection.

Wear eye protection

Your eyes are sensitive so it’s important to protect them from dust, airborne objects, bright lights and chemicals.

Safety glasses are standard personal protective equipment for most people working in construction or on mine sites, but it’s also recommended people wear safety glasses while mowing the lawn, whipper-snipping or using power tools at home.

Take care with contact lenses

If you’re not using or cleaning your contacts properly, it can irritate your eyes – or worse, leave you with a serious infection. They can be painful – but if they get really bad they can be serious and affect your vision.

Your optometrist can give you advice on how to properly use and clean your contacts.

Have regular eye tests

Just like seeing a doctor for a check-up, an eye test is an important part of looking after ourselves.

As well as measuring and correcting any vision problems an optometrist will also look at the overall health of your eyes.

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Even if you don't have any symptoms, you should have an eye test once every two years or as recommended by your optometrist.

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