3 ways you could be unknowingly increasing your risk of preventable eye conditions
Majority of vision impairment and blindness is preventable – here’s what you need to know about reducing your risk and caring for your eyes this #JulEYE.
Almost all Australians (90%) agree that sight is their most valued sense – but how often do we take the time to consider how to best look after our eyes?
An alarmingly high 9 in 10 cases of all blindness and vision impairment are preventable – and treatable, if detected early.
The five most common eye conditions include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina caused by diabetes), age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and refractive error. The risk of these conditions increases as we age, particularly for people over 40 years of age. Survey data from 2017-18 found that long term vision disorders affected 93% of people aged 65 and over.
While family history, genetics and ageing all play a part, there are a number of lifestyle strategies which may reduce your risk of many eye conditions. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of us do not take the necessary steps to look after our eyes. So, we are sharing 3 ways you could be unknowingly increasing your risk – and what to do about them.
Many eye conditions have no obvious symptoms in their early stages. During an eye test, an optometrist will look at the strength of muscles in the eyes, quality of your vision (vision acuity), and the health of the eye inside and out (including pupil, lens, cornea, and more). These tests can detect eye conditions early, so you can get the help you need to prevent further vision loss or changes to the eye.
Optometrists suggest having an eye test every two years. However, if you are over 60, have diabetes or a chronic health condition, or a family history of eye conditions, it is important to check with your GP and optometrist for a personal eye care plan.
Just like our skin, our eyes are sensitive to the sun’s UV radiation. If eyes are exposed to UV rays excessively, there is an increased risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
The right pair of sunglasses, as well as wearing a broad brimmed hat and reducing time spent outside during high UV periods of the day, goes a long way to protecting the eyes. Cancer Council Australia recommends close-fitting, wraparound style sunglasses which at least have a value of 3 for UV protection. Speak to your GP or optometrist about the right pair of sunglasses for you.
We know that eating well and exercising regularly is important. When it comes to our eyes, food and lifestyle play a huge role – not only in directly supporting healthy eyes, but also in reducing risk or symptoms of chronic conditions which can lead to avoidable blindness and impairment such as diabetes and high blood pressure. For people aged 65 years and over, the Physical Activity Guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days. At SHARE, we know that even starting with 10-15 minutes of physical activity a day can help support a healthier life. One way to keep staying active each day is through our live online exercise program with over 10 classes to choose from every week.
While carrots will not give us the power to see in the dark, they do actually have beneficial nutrients for our eyes. Carrots – as well as dark leafy vegetables, pumpkin, capsicum and other brightly coloured vegetables – contain an antioxidant called beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for our eyes, helping to prevent dry eyes and damage which is associated with risk of AMD and cataracts. Other foods good for the eyes include eggs, seafood and fish, nuts and seeds.
There we have it – 3 ways we can protect our eyes from inside and out. To join our online fitness class schedule or for more advice on healthier habits, please get in touch with Head Office on 8580 0628 or email email@example.com. For more information on your eye health, speak with your GP or optometrist.