Have regular eye check-ups
- For patients without eye diseases or specific risk factors, examinations with a registered eye care practitioner (optometrist or ophthalmologist) are recommended every 2nd year.
- Practitioners can be found via professional bodies: http://www.optometrists.asn.au/, and http://www.ranzco.edu/
Protect your eyes from UV light
- Exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) light is known to contribute to eye diseases including cataracts, pterigium and age related macular degeneration (ARMD),
- Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with good UV protection and a hat to reduce UV exposure,
- Most prescription spectacle lenses have good UV protection; speak to your optometrist about whether additional UV protection is required for you.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Diets high in anti-oxidants (e.g. from green leafy vegetables), Omega 3 fatty acids (e.g. fish, linseeds), various vitamins (including Vitamins E and C) and minerals (including Zinc and Selenium) can help prevent or slow progression of macular degeneration in some people. See the Macular Degeneration Foundation website for more information: http://www.mdfoundation.com.au/
Good eating habits combined with exercise help prevent diabetes, which is a significant cause of vision loss in Australia
Don’t smoke. Smoking has been linked to macular degeneration and is also a cause of cardiovascular disease, which may impact the eyes and vision.
Protect your eyes from hazards
- When working outside when there is a risk of eye injury (mowing lawn etc) and at work, protect your eyes with safety glasses.
- 60% of eye injuries happen at work, most incidents are preventable. When at work, follow directions to lower shields on machinery and wear safety glasses.
Arrange eye examinations and reviews for family and friends at risk
- Children are often unaware or unable to express the fact that their vision is blurry. 60% of children identified as “problem learners” suffer from poor vision.
- Studies have found that 62% of vision impairment is due to uncorrected refractive error. That is, 62% of people with “poor vision” need only spectacles to improve both their vision and quality of life.
- A link has been made between poor vision and falls in older Australians.
Prepared by Mae Chong
Lead Optometrist Low Vision Services
Australian College of Optometry