You only get one pair of eyes. And while people often develop serious eye conditions as they age, or because of illness and injury, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your peepers from unnecessary damage.
Here are 5 reasons to give your eyes more love and attention – before it’s too late.
You could have glaucoma but not know
Around half of people with glaucoma don't realise they have this potentially blinding eye disease – there are no symptoms or signs in the early stages. A significant amount of your peripheral (side) vision could be lost before you're aware of a problem. Watch this video for an idea of what it's like to develop glaucoma.
UV light hurts eyes as well as skin
What you can do Wearing a broad-brimmed hat reduces your eyes’ exposure to UV light by 50%, but a hat and sunglasses cuts the exposure by up to 98%. Choose a close-fitting, wrap-around style if you can, and make sure your sunnies meet the Australian Standard for eye protection (AS/NZS1067:2003).
Macular degeneration is common
About 1 in 7 Australians aged over 50 show some evidence of macular degeneration (MD). This is the group of eye diseases that causes progressive loss of central vision, leaving the peripheral vision intact. MD causes about half of all cases of legal blindness.
What you can do Experts aren't sure what causes MD, but they believe good lifestyle habits could help prevent it. Quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy blood pressure, eating more fruit, veggies and omega-3 fats, controlling your weight and protecting your eyes from the sun could reduce your risk of MD.
Diabetes can lead to eye disease
People living with diabetes can have difficulty focusing their eyes day-to-day, but this can be managed by keeping blood sugar levels stable. The risk of diabetic retinopathy, however, increases the longer you have diabetes and if glucose levels are not well controlled over time. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the retina of the eye slowly becomes damaged, causing symptoms such as blurred, distorted or patchy vision, sensitivity to glare and loss of balance.
What you can do If you have diabetes, book an eye test at least every 2 years, and try your best to control blood sugar, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Over the next 5 years, Australians registered on the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) will also receive alerts to remind them to get an eye exam.
Dermal fillers can be risky
Injectable (or, dermal) fillers add volume to the face and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It’s a popular cosmetic procedure that’s considered ‘low risk’, but globally, 98 documented cases of blindness have been caused by dermal fillers.
Blindness can occur when an artery is blocked by the filler and is more likely to occur if the fine needle is inserted near the eye, although there is still a risk when the filler is applied around the mouth.
What you can do Do you really need fillers? If so, choose an experienced and qualified doctor, or a nurse under a doctor’s supervision, to do the procedure. At your initial consultation, ask the provider these important questions from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
For more information
- Learn about eye conditions, eye tests and which health professionals can help you at Vision Initiative.
- For more information on glaucoma, visit Glaucoma Australia.
- If you or someone in your family has vision loss, go to Vision Australia for help and support.
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