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6 steps to keeping healthy eyes

11 January 2016

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Research has shown that just under half of all vision that is lost is actually avoidable, and through small lifestyle changes those that could be affected may never have a problem in their life.
1. Proper eating –
Most people aren’t aware that the foods that we eat aren’t simply fuel for the body – they can also provide eye-friendly nutrients that deliver protection for your sight. These can be included in fruits, vegetables and fatty acids that come from fish, nuts and oils. Vitamins B and E can protect against the onset of cataracts, while omega-3 fish oils keep healthy blood vessels doing their jobs inside your eye. In fact, research has shown that eating just one portion of fish a week can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
2. Avoid smoking
Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the delicate surface and internal structure of the eye, and there smokers have a significantly greater risk of sight loss than non-smokers. This lack of structure in the eye can lead to AMD, nuclear cataracts, thyroid eye disease, dry eye and poor colour vision.
3. Watch your weight
Maintaining a healthy and functioning body can keep your eyes just as healthy as the rest of you, and this is particularly important for macula pigment density, which will protect the retina and the breakdown of cells and the onset of AMD. Damage to the blood vessels in the eye cause by excess body weight has also been linked to the onset of glaucoma.
4. Aerobic exercise
Participating in aerobic exercise can help increase oxygen supplies to the nerves, and lowers any pressure that may be building up within your optic nerves in the eye. Reducing this pressure can help control conditions like ocular hypertension and glaucoma.
5. Cover up
As well as being good for your skin, avoiding high exposures to UV light can also keep you from developing cataracts or macular degeneration and, according to sources, UV damage is the biggest modifiable risk factor of cataract development. If the UV index rises above three (this can be found on the Bureau of Meteorology website) then it is best to wear sunglasses outside and keep yourself covered with adequate UV protection.
6. Be screen smart
The average person spends thirty-five hours a week looking at computer screens, and that’s the numbers before we even take into account phones and tablets. This massive amount of technological consumption means that 90 per cent of people suffer from some form of ‘screen fatigue’, including tired and irritated eyes, blurred vision, headaches and poor colour perception. To avoid these effects, make sure that you follow the rule of ‘20-20-20’, which is, for every twenty minutes that you spend staring at a computer screen, stare twenty feet away for twenty seconds and make sure that your eyes recover.

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RANZCO - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists - The Leaders in Collaborative Eye Care
ASO - Australian Society of Ophthalmologists

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