Eye problems aren’t uncommon in Australia, with 13 million of us with a permanent vision problem. And while you can’t always prevent them, you can take care of your eyes to minimise any deterioration.
Your optometrist can recognise serious eye conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts - sometimes before you even notice any symptoms. Even if you don’t have any symptoms or vision problems, it’s best to get an eye test every two years - and regularly as you get older or you have a family history of conditions that cause vision problems like diabetes or glaucoma.
Vision problems can be part of getting older, but you shouldn’t just dismiss symptoms. With eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, you may not notice symptoms until there is significant and irreversible vision loss. This is why it’s so important you keep up regular eye tests.
As well as having regular eye tests, it’s important you look after the rest of your body. Regular check-ups with your GP, exercise and eating a healthy diet can do wonders for your eye health. This also helps prevent or manage diabetes and high blood pressure, which can affect your eyesight too.
Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory - a good pair is essential to help protect your eyes from the sun. Exposure to UV rays can cause cataracts, pterygium (a growth over the cornea) and other serious eye problems. Look for a pair that complies with Australian standards. A category 2 or 3 is ideal for day to day wear.
Sometimes it feels like we’re always looking at a screen! That’s why it’s important to be mindful of eye fatigue. Every 20 minutes take your eyes off the screen and look at something in the distance for 20 seconds. Blinking helps lubricate the eyes too, so don’t forget to do it. If eye strain is persistent it’s a good idea to speak to your optometrist to make sure you don’t have any underlying vision problems.