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Prevention of Eye Diseases

There is no doubt that eye health is tremendously important. By having your eyes examined regularly, following a healthy lifestyle, and eating vitamins (when necessary), you are actually working to prevent or at least delay a number of eye diseases, including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

How to take care of the eyes?

Regular eye examinations are essential to detect vision problems. Early warning signs may not always be obvious, but an optometrist can notice many of them.
We recommend that you have an eye exam every two years – even if you do not wear glasses or contact lenses. However, a person who works on a computer every day should have their eyes checked every year. In the event of any eye problems, consult an ophthalmologist or optometrist immediately.

Be aware of the risks

Some people are at a higher risk of developing certain eye diseases than others. It is important for you to be aware of the fact that you are in a high-risk category.

You may be prone to the disease when:

  • Your family has a history of eye disease. Talk to family members, because knowing your family’s health history can help you discover problems before they become more serious.
  • You are over 60 – many eye diseases are age-related.
  • You have had severe learning difficulties – studies show that such patients are 10 times more likely to develop severe vision problems in their adulthood.

Think about nutrition

A balanced and healthy diet can help reduce health problems, including age-related macular degeneration.
Fruits and vegetables like blueberries, peaches, avocados, kale, leeks, spinach, and red peppers are the best for eye health.
Cold-water fish are good for the eyes: tuna, sardines, and mackerel. The omega-3 fatty acids they contain provide structural support to the cell membranes of the eye and even slightly relieve dry eyes. Studies show that eating fish even once a week reduces the risk of early age-related macular degeneration by up to 40%.
In addition, make sure you drink enough water, as dehydration can cause dry eyes, irritation, and pain. In hot weather, drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day.

Exercise and stay active

Exercise is good for your body, soul, and, of course, your eyes! Aerobic exercise increases the vital oxygen supply to the optic nerve, which in turn reduces eye strain. Exercise is therefore particularly useful for the prevention of diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes and eye health are very closely linked – poorly and carelessly regulated diabetes causes numerous vision problems.

A normal body mass index (BMI) helps maintain the pigment density of the macula. It protects the retinal cells from decomposing, which in turn causes degeneration of the age-related macula.

Quit smoking

Smokers have a significantly higher risk of developing glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, primarily because tobacco contains chemicals that damage the blood vessels inside the eye. Quitting smoking colossally reduces the risk of becoming ill.

Decrease alcohol intake

Like tobacco, alcohol increases the risk of early macular degeneration. Excessive alcohol consumption affects liver function, resulting in a reduction in the antioxidant glutathione, which protects the eyes. At no time should alcohol be consumed in excess of 14 units per week, and even then it should be spread over at least three days.

Protect the eyes from UV rays

There are 3 types of UV radiation:

  • most of the UV radiation reaching the Earth from the Sun is UVA radiation,
  • much less UVB radiation reaches the ground,
  • UVC radiation practically disappears in the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere.

We tolerate a certain amount of UV radiation and it is even needed to form vitamin D in the body.

Excessive UV radiation is dangerous to humans – both to the skin and to the eyes. In addition, its effects on the eyes are cumulative – the damage heaps and accumulates over our lifetime. According to the World Health Organization, up to 20% of cataract cases may be caused by too frequent or intense exposure to UVB radiation.

UV rays can damage the eye – this is called photokeratitis. Photokeratitis is an inflammation of the outer layer of the cornea that results in eye pain, swelling, and watery eyes. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can significantly increase the risk of developing age-related diseases.

That is why eye protection is crucial. We recommend investing in high-quality sunglasses, which do not have to be expensive, but should filter out at least 99% of UVA and UVB light. Only then can we say that our eyes are protected.

In the interest of eye health, children should always wear safety glasses when in the sun.

Wear protective goggles

The sun is not the only thing that can directly damage the eyes. Eye damage and traumatic injuries are more common than expected. Special glasses wear out anyway – it doesn’t matter whether you are repairing your home or playing golf.

Take regular breaks from screens

Many of us work on the computer and spend all day in front of the screen. Its blue light causes tension in the eyes, the symptoms of which are discomfort, dry eyes, fatigue, and headaches.

There is a simple and effective method for avoiding the so-called digital tension, known as the 20/10/10/20 rule. This means looking at a distance of at least 10 meters for 20 seconds, then closing your eyes for 10 seconds and doing so every 20 minutes.

Studies have shown that although the eye muscles are actively working even when we are working on a computer or looking at the phone screen, we still blink several times less during those activities. It is beneficial to look away from the screen from time to time – it also helps to prevent dry eyes.

Rest properly

Quality sleep offers a full rest for the eyes. Rested eyes are not red, swollen, or irritated. However, if you sometimes experience eye discomfort due to a lack of sleep, you can relieve it by applying a cold compress to your eyes and allowing yourself to relax for as little as 10 minutes.