Caring For Your Eyes
Your eyes are hard workers and deserve to be treated with the utmost care as we all know there is no price we would pay to give up our eyes. There are many easy habits that we can practice daily to maintain healthy eyes and retain our clear and colourful vision throughout our life. It is now more than ever that we need to take care of our eyes, as research shows there to be an approximate 150% increase in eye problems over the next 30 years! With factors like increased screen time and not wearing the appropriate eye protection when outdoors, it's no wonder our eyes are having a hard time. The first step to healthy eyes is knowing about the potential damage these factors contribute to, and secondly, how to prevent it.
So, what's the damage?
There are many ways that overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can negatively affect your eyes and vision. The first thing to know is that sun damage on the eyes is cumulative over your life, meaning that even damage from a young age can later build up to have a permanent effect on your eyesight. UVB rays affect the corneas, which is the front part of the eyes, causing light sensitivity and eye irritations. UVA penetrates more deeply, affecting the inner layers of the eyes. Both types of UV contribute to several eye conditions including Photokeratitis, Pterygium and Cataracts if your eyes are not properly protected from the sun.
How to protect your eyes
Wear UV + Polarised Sunglasses
It is crucial for people of all ages to wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection when outdoors. However, UV lenses on their own do not prevent glare from affecting your vision. It is therefore important to look for sunglasses that not only provide UV protection but are also polarised. Polarised lenses work by preventing glare caused by light reflecting off surfaces such as water, cars, snow, and sand, hitting directly into your eyes. This type of eye protection ensures you continue to see clearly and your eyes stay protected in a variety of light conditions. Next time you are shopping for sunglasses, remember that polarised lenses are a great option to keep your eyes healthy in the sun's harsh light.
Eye care at home
There are many tips and tricks you can put into place at home to ensure your eyes are getting the absolute best treatment. For starters, limiting your screen time can have a significant impact on your eye health. However, this seems to become harder and harder as we use our screens for everything these days! A good tip is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away (6 metres) for 20 seconds. At night, it is important to avoid blue light exposure from devices. Ensure you wear blue light blocking glasses and try turning down your brightness settings to avoid eye strain and reduce potential damage to your retina.
Eye care for kids
The effects of UV ray overexposure are accumulated over time, which is why looking after your eyes from a young age is crucial in preventing vision issues later in life. A person’s eyes are also at a higher risk of retinal damage as a child's ocular lenses are still in development and unable to effectively filter UV light. It is highly recommended that all kids should wear sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection whenever they are out in the sun, particularly in high glare situations like around water. A good rule of thumb for children wearing sunglasses is ensuring their eyes are not visible from either side of their face.
What is Digital Eye Strain?
Caused by the overuse of computers and other digital devices, digital eye strain is a vision problem often experienced with symptoms such as discomfort of the eyes, dry eyes, fatigue, headaches and un-clear vision. Digital eye strain is a common occurrence in today's society, with most of us spending a good part of the day staring at digital screens.
What is Photokeratitis?
Photokeratitis is a temporary but usually painful eye condition caused by UV ray overexposure. This condition is said to be like a sunburn affecting the corneas of the eyes. Symptoms usually last from a few hours up to a couple of days in some cases. The best preventative is wearing sunglasses whenever you are exposed to the sun.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are the slow development of a cloudy-type window forming over the clear lens of the eye. The most common symptom of Cataracts is blurred vision, unable to see in dim lighting, and seeing less colour. The most common cause of Cataracts is ageing, with people usually over the age of 60 starting to have some form of clouding on the lens of the eyes if they suffer from these conditions.
What is Pterygium?
More commonly experienced by people who spend lots of time outdoors exposed to the sun, Pterygium is a triangular growth that begins on the clear tissues of one or both eyes and can spread to the cornea. Pterygium is a noncancerous, painless growth that may appear slightly raised with blood vessels. Symptoms may include irritation or eye discomfort.