Care For Your Eyes
- Category: Learn About Your Eyes
Why regular eye examinations are important
An eye exam and a pair of glasses can enable you to see clearly, making it easier to work, care for your family and, for your child, easier to learn at school. Early diagnosis of eye conditions is often the key to preventing permanent damage and blindness. Regular eye examinations help ensure that eye conditions are identified early enough for preventative action to be taken.
Why should I have my eyes checked?
Everyone should have their eyes checked every two years. More importantly if you are over 40 years old, have diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts or wear glasses. It is crucial to seek an examination if you are unable to see things clearly from a distance, struggle to see clearly when you are reading or doing other close work, or have red, itchy or painful eyes.
Should I have my child’s eyes checked?
Yes! Children should have their eyes checked every year, particularly if your child is:
- Is unable to see things clearly close up or at distance
- Has red, itchy or painful eyes
- Has headaches
- Has an eye turn
- Has one or two parents with eye problems
The Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation is establishing vision centres and clinics around the world where eye care professionals are equipped to:
- Examine your eyes
- Check your eye health
- Offer you low cost glasses
- Refer you for further eye treatment when needed
If you would like to learn more about the global locations in which we work, visit our Where we work section.
Who can check your eyes?
Access to eye care personnel differs across the world – below is a list of the people that can help you:
Community health workers and community nurses can provide eye screenings and can often take case histories and visual acuities (measurement of vision).
Eye health workers, refractionists and ophthalmic nurses can provide eye screening, take case histories and check visual acuity. They can also check for some common eye conditions such as trachoma, binocularity test (how well both eyes work together), colour vision and if facilities allow, may take retinal photographs.
Everyday factors which can affect your eye’s health
Caring for your eyes needs to be a normal part of your lifestyle for long term good health. Close to 80% of vision impairment is avoidable but early detection and timely treatment of eye problems is essential. There are many lifestyle and environmental factors that can affect your eye health and that of your children, but with some simple strategies some common eye conditions can be avoided. Following the lifestyle tips below will greatly improve your eye health.
A healthy diet should include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fish and a limited amount of fat, alcohol and salt. Regular exercise and maintaining normal blood pressure and glucose levels are also important and will help prevent eye conditions.
Harmful chemicals from smoking can affect your eyes by damaging the lens and blood vessels which can lead to vision loss. Smokers are more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy and vitamin A deficiency; are two to three times more likely to have cataracts and four times more likely to develop macular degeneration.
A simple solution is not to smoke!
Wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses and staying in the shade between 10am and 2pm are easy ways to protect your eyes. Long term and unprotected sun exposure can lead to pterygia, cataract, pinguecula and cancers of the eye all of which can lead to loss of sight and possible blindness.
Good personal and environmental hygiene is essential to good eye health. Regularly washing of your hands and face in clean water, not sharing towels or sheets will help achieve the best conditions for healthy eyes. A clean environment is particularly important to prevent infection for anyone who has recently had eye surgery.
Diseases can spread quickly in environments with exposed garbage, sewage and dirty water. Conjuctivitis, trachoma and other eye infections are some of the conditions that can result from lack of access to a regular supply of clean water.
Lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking should be considered carefully when pregnant as both have a potential lead to babies being born prematurely, or with deformities, possibly to the eyes in certain circumstances. It is advisable for women of childbearing age to be immunised against rubella and measles, as if experienced during pregnancy these diseases have the potential to cause eye conditions in babies once born.
Poor maternal health caused by a limited access to a good diet can lead to vitamin deficiencies in unborn babies. If vitamin or diet supplements are not available the result can be an increased chance of eye conditions being present in the baby once born. Cataracts and retinopathy of prematurity are examples of eye conditions which may develop in these circumstances.
Accidents can happen at home or work and it’s important to be aware of the dangers and protect your eyes to avoid injury. If you are working with cleaning chemicals, welding, gardening with fertilisers or working with sharp objects or tools, it is very important to wear safety glasses.
Once you have finished it is advisable to wash your hands and remember to store chemicals, fertilisers and tools away from children.