There’s an old saying; our eyes are the windows to our soul. It’s an idiomatic expression that holds true to this day. We can evoke emotion through our eyes. We deliver our most subtle but powerful expression even through a glance. Fear is felt without words but through a strong stare. Innocence seen through the gentleness of one’s eye. Love, through a warm gaze.
We must then consider the importance of eye care. Your vision is a perishable attribute as you grow old. However, we can take measures to reduce the downsides of vision through proper care of our eyes. It’s also important to visit your eye healthcare professional to avoid vision problems.
Most people with vision problems wait too long before seeking medical attention. Often, the severity of the condition is already high. Don’t be afraid to have your eyes checked regularly. It can greatly save your vision and even money, as eye surgeries are more expensive than regular eye exams.
There are various eye professionals you can seek such as Optometrists, Opticians, and Ophthalmologists. Opticians are not eye doctors but they are an important part of your eye care team. They supply prescriptions given by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist and them also the one who distributes the glasses or contact lenses for correct vision.
The healthcare providers who do the eye exams are called Optometrists. These eye healthcare providers can also diagnose eye disease and can also prescribe eye medications for treatment or glasses to correct vision.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in vision care and all concerns regarding eye health. They’re trained to perform eye exams, and similar to Optometrists, they diagnose and treat eye diseases. An Ophthalmologist is the only qualified health provider(doctor) who can perform eye surgeries.
You may visit your Optometrist for your regular eye care such as yearly eye exam, or eye prescriptions. For eyeglass or contact lense adjustments, you may approach your Optician at the local Optometrist’s office or vision care center. Visit your Ophthalmologist for serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, or any need for surgical treatments.
There are cases that your eye just manifests signs or symptoms that are general health-related. In these cases, primary care doctors must also be involved.
Eyes wide open
Did you know that your diet significantly affects your eyesight? A healthy well-balanced diet may help reduce the risk of developing eye conditions. Including food rich in vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants can significantly prevent serious eye diseases.
Your eyes need lutein, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc to stay healthy. You need fish in your diet for omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to the development of your retina. Carrot is a well-known root vegetable that is rich in vitamin A and beta carotene.
Eating carrots can help protect against degenerative eye diseases. Kale is a superfood that’s extremely good for eye health. The antioxidants found in kale such as zeaxanthin and lutein prevent cataracts. Zeaxanthin and lutein are not produced by our body, therefore you need to include this in your diet to supply to your health.
Milk and yogurt can also be beneficial for your eye’s health. They contain vitamin A and zinc. Vitamin A protects the cornea. Zinc is prominent in the eyes especially the retina and choroid.
Glasses are sometimes worn as a fashion statement, but if your glasses or contact lenses are prescribed you must wear them. Not wearing corrective glasses can impede the development of your eyesight. In addition, not wearing prescribed glasses can cause headaches and fatigue. If you fail to wear your glasses, you will also experience the inability to focus and you’re at higher risk of accidents and injuries.
UV (ultraviolet) rays can increase the risk of getting cataracts and macular degeneration. The right pair of sunglasses can help you protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. When choosing a pair of shades or sunglasses, it’s important to get 100% UV protection.
The shade, darkness, and color don’t have any effect on UV protection. There’s also an option for Polarized lenses which greatly reduce glare, ideal for driving. The size of the sunglasses also matters because it can prevent the light from coming from the sides of the glasses. Wraparound shades are a solution to this.
Protective eyewear is a must for work that requires it. If you’re into the woodwork, handling saw or machines that cut wood, it’s important to wear safety eyewear to avoid hazardous debris from entering your eyes. Some sports also require the use of protective eyewear such as ice hockey, racquetball, and even swimming. This is to protect you from certain sports-related inquiries.
Staring at a computer, or other electronic devices such as phone screens and tablets can cause eyestrain, blurry vision, dryness of eyes, and headaches. If your work demands that you be in front of a computer monitor, you must make sure that you’re wearing your prescribed glasses or contact lenses. If your eyes start to hurt, you need to take a break.
Taking rest for about 20 minutes usually alleviates eye strain from looking at a computer monitor. The chair and view level of your monitor is also important for comfort. If the eyestrain is persistent, you must see a doctor.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is directly linked to smoking cigarettes. If you’re a smoker, you’re more at risk to AMD. Studies show that smokers are 4 times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers. Heavy smokers are also at greater risk of developing cataracts. Glaucoma is also attributed to high blood pressure and consistent smoking.
Uveitis is an inflammation of the eye’s middle layer. It’s a serious eye disease that can result in blindness. Uveitis harms the vital structure of your eye and evidence from research shows that smokers are more likely to have uveitis. You can immediately reduce the risk of eye diseases if you quit smoking.
Regular visits to your ophthalmologist can detect if you’re at risk from any form of eye disease. Your regular eye exam is also important to check and correct your vision.
Watch out for eye symptoms
Incidents or occurrences happen and you should be mindful and act accordingly when something strange or accident happens to your eye. You must seek eye care professional immediately if you experience the following:
- Injury to your eye
- Distorted vision
- Double vision
- Partial or total vision loss for either or both eyes
- Redness and pain in the eyes
Symptoms that don’t need immediate medical attention:
- If objects you see are less sharp
- Difficulty reading
- Trouble seeing at night
- Blurred vision from far or near objects
- Slight itchiness
Proper care for your eyes is not difficult or expensive as it may seem. You can have good eyesight even late in life if you maintain a good diet, regular visits to your eye care health professional and protect your eyes from harm. The simple wearing of shades can already reduce the risk of losing vision, plus it’s fashionable and makes activities such as sports or driving more fun and easy.
Don’t cheat on not wearing your prescribed glasses or contact lenses. Doing so will only impede eye correction. Remember to wear protective gear such as goggles or eyewear for sports or work that may cause harm to your eyes.