The 5 human senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch – help us to understand and perceive the world around us. Out of these senses, vision is by far the most important as 80% of what we perceive comes through visual processing of information that is sent to the brain for processing. If senses such as hearing or smell stop working, the sense of sight can compensate for the loss of the other sense. Healthy vision is essential for daily activities such as reading, exercising, driving, cooking, and at the workplace. Therefore, it is very important to take care of your eyes if you want to enjoy healthy vision for the rest of your life.
Following these simple precautions can help reduce the chance of developing eye problems and disorders and keep your eyes and vision healthy in the years to come.
- Eye Tests– Regular check-ups by an ophthalmologist is a small investment to ensure the long term health of your eyes. A comprehensive eye examination can accurately identify vision problems, provide proper diagnosis, and ensure that appropriate treatment is received at an early stage, when the problem is still treatable.
- Quit Smoking– Smoking tobacco harms nearly every system and organ in your body as well as your eyes. Studies indicate that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of ocular diseases such as Cataract, Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy, which are leading causes of visual impairment and blindness. Stop smoking to improve your chances of avoiding eye disease.
- Sun Protection – Long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to a variety of eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and intraocular melanoma–all of which can lead to permanent vision loss. Sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection and wide-brimmed hats are a great way to safeguard the long term health of your eyes from the harmful effects of UV light, not only in summer but throughout the year, as UV rays are present during all seasons.
- Healthy Food – Proper diet and nutrition is very crucial for optimum eye health. Eat a balanced diet that is rich in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zinc, to help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Healthy weight – Exercising regularly stimulates the entire body, lowers your odds of becoming obese, and can reduce your chances of developing serious diseases such as diabetes (which can lead to diabetes-related eye disorders and blindness), and other eye conditions such as glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
- Family eye health history – Keep track of eye conditions that your parents or grandparents had. This will help to determine if you are at a higher risk for developing hereditary eye diseases or conditions such as glaucoma, retinal degeneration, age-related macular degeneration and optic atrophy.
- Contact lens safety – Improper use and care of contact lens can lead to bacterial infections, corneal infections (keratitis) and corneal ulcerations, which can cause permanent damage to vision. Always handle contact lenses with clean, dry hands. Clean, rinse, and disinfect your lenses with fresh solution each time you remove them. Replace your contact lenses as advised by your doctor or the manufacturer.
- Makeup Safety– Use clean brushes while applying eye makeup and never use expired products. Always remove eye makeup such as mascara, eye liner and eye shadow before you sleep otherwise the chemicals in the makeup can get rubbed off into your eyes, which can increase the possibility of developing an allergic reaction, sty or infection.
- Hydration – Make sure you drink sufficient water to avoid dehydration, which can lead to reduced tear production, dry eye, eye strain, blurred vision and headaches.
- Proper sleep – Inadequate sleep may contribute to eye fatigue, puffy and dry eyes, eye spasms, popped eye vessels and dark circles. Getting a good night’s sleep for 7-8 hours rests the eye muscles and provides the necessary fluid circulation.