Our eyes are the most incredible pieces of equipment and they enable us to enjoy the world around us.
We have only two eyes so it’s vital that we take good care of them because the passage of time, the ageing process and the increased risk of medical conditions affecting them mean that they may become less likely to satisfy our visual needs.
An eye test at least every year (unless advised otherwise) is very important. This helps to identify whether they need a little help from glasses or contact lenses. For example, presbyopia (loss of focusing power of the lens) usually starts in middle age and most people notice that reading or focusing on objects close up is not as easy as it was. It’s considered a normal part of ageing and occurs when the eye lens becomes stiffer, larger and less able to change its shape to focus. It is easily improved with reading glasses.
A test also allows problems which can damage the eyes to be detected and treated early. An example is glaucoma, a condition where by fluid pressure builds up and if left untreated can cause blindness. The problem often goes unnoticed until permanent damage has occurred. However, during an eye test, it can be identified so treatment can be given and vision protected.
Diet plays a very important role in good vision. One rich in antioxidants – vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium and flavonoids (found in red wine, green tea and dark chocolate) – can help to counteract the effects of time and the environment on the eyes. Smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration and so is best avoided.
Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens that are very common and make vision unclear. Nowadays they can be easily treated by surgical removal. Low calcium, smoking, excess UV radiation and diabetes make cataracts more likely so the eyes need to be protected from these.
TAKE A BREAK
Like any part of the body, the eyes need rest too. Whether it’s close work or time spent in front of a computer screen, if you are to avoid straining, then regular breaks are needed. Don’t forget that like the skin, the eyes can be damaged by UV radiation, so protect them by wearing sunglasses. Think about protective glasses or goggles if there’s a risk of particles of debris entering your eyes whilst you work or participate in sports and hobbies.
Read the original article published on healthspan.co.uk by Dr Rob Hicks,