Looking after your eyes
6 ways to protect your precious eyesight
Monday 7 June 2021
While your vision is something you might not think about very often, the human eye is a truly amazing piece of engineering! Not only is it made up of millions of tiny working parts but the way we interpret and enjoy life is often made possible by good vision. Here are some tips to help you look after your eyes for the long term.
- Give your eyes a rest. While working your other muscles to the max is great, the same can’t be said for your eyes. Digital eye strain is a common issue for both adults and children. If you need to spend a lot of time on your computer or phone (and who doesn’t!), give your eyes regular breaks by gazing at a point in the far distance and letting them relax. Better still, go outside – there’s a world out there!
- Use drops when your eyes feel dry. Artificial tears for dry eyes are available over the counter at pharmacies and supermarkets. Keep them handy and put a drop in each eye when they feel dry, gritty or irritated for welcome relief. Aaah!
- Another reason for a healthy diet. A nutritious diet is good for every bit of your body, and that includes your eyes. As a reminder of which food’s best, check out the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Food that is particularly healthy for the eyes includes:
- Oily fish such as salmon, trout and sardines
- Red, orange or yellow fruit and vegetables (there’s some truth to the old wives’ tale about carrots!)
- Green leafy vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Keep an eye out for possible injury! Safety goggles aren’t just for the chemistry lab. If your work or hobbies could lead to an eye injury, make sure you wear protective eye gear. Doing construction work, welding, getting handy around the house and – believe it or not – even gardening all have a risk of eye injury from ricocheting particles (or protruding branches if you’re a green thumb!). Serious injury to your eye can cause blindness, so it’s important to play it safe.
- Take care of your glasses and contact lenses. If you have specs, keep them in a safe place when you’re not wearing them. While you may look stylish, it’s not great to wear them on top of your head when not in use. If you use contact lenses, wash your hands whenever you touch your contacts or your eyes, and clean your contacts carefully if they’re not disposable. Always replace lenses regularly – whether it’s meant to be daily, fortnightly or monthly.
- Chat to your doctor if you’re concerned. Remember, your eyesight is precious. So if you have any of the symptoms below and can’t get to your doctor, go straight to your local eye hospital or emergency department:
- Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes (even if it’s only part of your vision)
- Injury to your eye causing pain, redness or affecting your vision
- Severe, unexplained pain or redness in your eye
- If your eye becomes painful, red or your vision gets blurry after you put your contact lens in – and doesn’t get better after you take the lens out
If you have any issues with your eyes or vision, speak to an optometrist. You can book an appointment at a Teachers Health Centre or one of our optical providers. Best of all, an eye check every three years (or one every year once you’re 65) is covered by Medicare.