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Taking care of your eyes important

YOUR eyes are one of the most important organs in your body as they give you sight, which plays a major role in our daily lives. Taking care of them, therefore, should be regarded as important.

World Sight Day,which is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, focuses global attention on vision impairment, including blindness. The theme for this year’s World Sight Day, which fell on October 14, was ‘Love Your Eyes’.

Vision impairment affects people of all ages, with the majority affected being over the age of 50. According to the World Health Organisation, at least 2,2 billion people worldwide have near or distance vision impairment. In half of these cases, vision impairment could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.

Vision impairment and blindness can have major and long-lasting effects on all aspects of life, including our daily personal activities, interacting with the community, school and work opportunities, as well as the ability to access public services.

Untreated cataracts and uncorrected refractive error are the leading causes of vision impairment. Other causes include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, infectious diseases of the eye and trauma.

How to take care of your eyes

Everyone, including eye care professionals, hospitals, non-governmental organisations and businesses,need to be involved in helping promote good eye care.

It is important to visit an optometrist at least every two years for a regular dilated eye examination. With more and more business industries adapting to digital platforms, where a lot of time is spent looking at computer screens, there is a rise in concern for eye problems that may occur as a result of this.

Although activities that can adversely affect your eyesight may be unavoidable, taking the necessary steps to protect your eyes can save you a headache later on in life.

Adjusting your diet is one of the simple ways of improving eye care. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are rich in Vitamin C, which protects the eyes against infections and diseases.

Zinc and other minerals that help promote good vision are abundant in eggs, grapes and dark berries.

Carrots are also associated with improved eyesight. Carrots contain beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. These carotenoid pigments are broken down into Vitamin A, which protects the eyes from sun damage and ultraviolet radiation.

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and kale contain antioxidants and other nutrients that help protect the eyes from problems such as cataracts.

Various types of fish, such as salmon, sardines and tuna, contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which improve memory and brain function.

Poor lighting can damage your eyesight. Make use of proper lighting, whether it be on a screen or just general ambient lighting.Make sure that your light is not too bright or dim, especially when working.

Reduced intensity bulbs are ideal to use for your work area. Adjusting your computer’s brightness, text size and contrast to properly suit your vision needs will help reduce your chances of experiencing computer vision syndrome. This is a type of eye fatigue that strains the eyes. You can also use a glare filter for your monitor to protect your eyes from excessive glare.

Take some time to give your eyes a break. In order for your eyes to function well, muscles in the eye need adequate rest to avoid stress. If you work on a computer all day, following the simple 20 20-20 rule can help improve your eye function.

The 20-20-20 rule is suggested by doctors to break up your day and relax your eyes. It is recommended that every 20 minutes, you look away from your computer monitor and look at an object that is 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.  This helps prevent eye strain.

During that time, blink 20 successive times to prevent eye dryness. Changing the scenery allows your eyes to rehydrate as well as let your body conduct any other necessary maintenance on its own.

Make use of appropriate eyewear for all activities that can leave your eyes vulnerable. Ensure that the eyewear is correct so that it provides the required eye safety and protection. If you are planning to go swimming, pool goggles will help avoid exposing your eyes to harsh chlorine.

If you intend to do some do-it-yourself work at home, safety glasses can protect your eyes from dust particles, bacteria and injuries.

When spending the day outside in the sun, wearing sunglasses protects the eyes from exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Avoid touching your eyes. Your hands are exposed to a lot of dust, dirty and bacteria throughout the day. This can all be easily transferred each time you rub or touch your eyes.

To prevent infections, wash your hands regularly and avoid any unnecessary hand contact with your eyes. Cleaning your spectacles and contact lenses can also help in the reduction of germs around the eyes.

Stay hydrated all the time. Appropriate fluid intake is essential for your body’s overall well being, including the health of your eyes. Thoroughly hydrating throughout the day will prevent your eyes from becoming dry and irritated as the day goes on.

Smoking can damage your eyes so consider dropping the habit if you are a smoker. Not only is cigarette smoke rough on your eyes, smoking makes you more susceptible to age-related macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions.

Smoking has also been linked to optic nerve damage, which can have adverse effects on your vision over time so quitting smoking outright can save possible damage to your eyesight.

Practising general health safety may not show immediate benefits or results but your eyes will benefit later on in your life.

Being mindful of the situations you are going to be in and being prepared to protect your eyes will work to promote their overall health and ability to function.

An annual or biannual visit to an optometrist can also help diagnose unnoticeable or undetected problems that you may not be aware of.

  • The information in this article is provided as a public service by the Cimas iGo Wellness programme, which is designed to promote good health. It is provided for general information only and should not be construed as medical advice. Readers should consult their doctor or clinic on any matter related to their health or the treatment of any health problem. — igo@cimas.co.zw or WhatsApp 0772 161 829 or phone 024-2773 0663.

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