Your vision is one of your most important assets. As a responsible adult, you don’t want to take chances with your eye health. In fact, two-thirds of all Canadians have said they would cash in their savings and or possessions in order to save their eyesight.
Regular visits to the Optometrist
Regular visits to the optometrist are a key component to your preventative health care regimen. Not only will a thorough eye exam evaluate vision conditions, you will also be screened for eye diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. General health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, certain vascular diseases and certain cancers can also be identified during a regular eye exam.
There is a need to wear eye protection in many work settings. A recent survey indicated that in 60 percent of workplace injuries the injured person was not wearing eye protection.
Industrial eye injuries can be caused by fragments of construction materials, particles, tools, chemicals, or harmful radiation. Wear standard safety glasses or goggles if you do not wear corrective lenses or if you wear contacts. If you wear glasses, you can purchase prescription safety glasses with optically correct plastic or polycarbonate lenses.
If you work at a computer, try to avoid eye strain. Check your posture, available light, and the position of your computer screen. If your eyes get sore after a few hours, try switching to alternate tasks or changing your focus. You may also want to explore the possibility of specialty lenses designed specifically to be worn at your work station.
Protection from UV Radiation
Most of us are aware of the harm UV radiation can do to the skin, but many do not realize that exposure can also harm the eyes and affect vision. UV radiation does come from the sun, but you can also be exposed to it through artificial sources like welding machines, tanning beds and lasers.
Short term exposure can lead to an effect called called photokeratitis. This painful condition is like sunburn and causes red eyes, tears, a gritty feeling, and sensitivity to light. Fortunately this is a temporary condition and rarely causes any long term damage. Longer term exposure to UV rays however, can increase the risk of developing a cataract or macular degeneration, or cause damage to the retina. To reduce the risk of damage to your eyes from UV rays, make sure you wear good quality sun glasses that block UV-A and UV-B radiation and screen out 75 to 90% of visible light. If you participate in sports or work outside, select a model made of an impact resistant material.
Research has shown that nutrition can impact the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A large clinical trial conducted by the US-based National Eye Institute found that the use of a high dose antioxidant vitamin combination plus zinc prevented or delayed the progression of AMD and the associated vision loss.
Dietary studies confirmed the link between frequent consumption of spinach or collard greens and reduced risk of AMD. These vegetables contain significant amounts of the lutein and zeaxanthin, which are not only antioxidants but the only carotenoids found in the eye. Nutrients such as vitamin C and E, beta-carotene and zinc have also been proven useful in preventing cataracts and AMD.