Having regular eye tests will not only test your vision, but will also help to spot conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts, and detect general health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
It’s recommended that everyone has an eye test every two years - some states will offer discount optical care or free eye examinations so it’s a good idea to check with your GP or pharmacist. As well as having regular eye tests, there are a number of things you can do to look after your eyes:
Cut back on smoking and alcohol
Smoking and drinking too much alcohol both increase the risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (a condition leading to loss of vision). Smokers are also more likely to suffer from cataracts.
If you drink alcohol regularly, stay within the recommended weekly levels – no more than 2 drinks on any day and no more than 4 drinks in a single occasion.
Studies have shown that there is a strong link between diet and vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients found in green leafy plants and yellow and red fruits and vegetables are great for supporting the eyes. Beta-carotene is also essential for eye health – so include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash and brightly coloured vegetables in your diet regularly.
Keeping active can boost eye health – possibly by reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure, narrowed arteries and diabetes. Aim for 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity each week and try to be active on most, if not all days.
A little sunshine can be great for our health – but less so for our eyes. Never look directly into the sun, and always choose sunglasses with good UV protection.
Sixty percent of eye injuries happen at work and most are preventable. When working outside or when operating machinery, always wear safety glasses.
Written by Ruth Tongue