How to look after your eyes

Our sight is arguably the most powerful of all the senses, but how often do we think about our eye health?

A healthy lifestyle goes a long way to reduce the risk of eye conditions, and other health problems like type two diabetes and high blood pressure.

There are plenty of other things you can do to look after your eyes every day too.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating a wide range of healthy foods (vegetables, fruit, grains/cereals, lean meats, and dairy) will not only improve your overall health but also promote eye health.

Studies have shown certain nutrients like zinc, copper, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin can have a protective effect on our eye health as we get older. While not all of these nutrients are household names, they are found in every day foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish, nuts, beef and eggs.

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.

Don’t smoke

If you need yet another reason to kick the habit, studies show smoking can lead to vision loss or blindness.

Smoking increases the risk of vision threatening conditions like age related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Manage diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol

Complications from diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol can cause sight threatening eye diseases. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the country.

Making sure you take control of your health and manage your diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol levels will help protect your eyes and your overall wellbeing.

Wear sunglasses

Our eyes are just as vulnerable to the sun as our skin. Exposure to harmful UV rays can cause a range of eye conditions like cataracts and pterygium (a growth over the cornea) and can damage the cornea and retina.

It’s worth investing in a quality pair of sunglasses that has Australian Standard Compliant labelling. 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

Whether you’re at work or at home it’s vital to protect your eyes from dust, airborne objects, bright lights or chemical substances. Your eyes and the area around your eyes are sensitive and can be easily damaged.

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 in the home.

It’s also important eye protection complies with Australian standards.

Take care with contact lenses

Taking proper care of your contact lenses is vital to keep your eyes safe and healthy. It’s important to follow the advice of your optometrist and keep on top of your cleaning and hygiene routine.

Incorrect use or cleaning of contact lenses can lead to a range of problems from eye irritation to infection. Eye infections can be serious and result in vision loss.

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 to ensure there are no signs of eye disease.

If you have no symptoms, it’s recommended you have an eye test once every two years or as recommended by your optometrist.