More than 13 million Australians, or over half of the population (55%) has a permanent vision problem.
While not all eye conditions can be prevented, there is a lot you can do to take care of your eyes to minimise eyesight deterioration.
A trained optometrist can recognise serious eye conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, sometimes before symptoms emerge. If you have no symptoms, or vision problems it’s recommended you book in for an eye test every two years. You should see an optometrist more regularly as you get older, if your eye sight changes or if you have a family history of eye conditions like diabetes or glaucoma.
It’s common for people to dismiss changes in vision as a normal part of getting older. Sometimes vision problems can happen slowly and can be difficult to detect over time.
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. Taking care of yourself will also help prevent or manage diabetes and high blood pressure, which can have serious implications on your eyesight.
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.
We are looking at digital screens more than ever, so 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. Don’t forget to blink as it helps lubricate the eyes. 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.