Eye Health

01 October 2004

Tips for good eye care

There is a lot you can do to take care of your eyes and to prevent vision problems. We tell you how.

There is a lot you can do to take care of your eyes and to prevent vision problems. We tell you how.
  • 1. Have your vision checked regularly, as some eye diseases have no early warning symptoms. Generally, children and people over the age of 45 should have two-yearly eye examinations.
  • 2. Treat the following symptoms as emergencies: sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, sudden blurry vision, persistent flashes of light on the edge of the field of vision, loss of vision that looks like a curtain descending, the appearance of haloes or rainbows around light, sudden eye pain, double vision or squint. Any blow to the eye that results in a red spot on any part of the eye, or any of the symptoms described above, should also be investigated.
  • 3. Keep chronic diseases, including diabetes and hypertension, under control. Many have a damaging effect on your eyes.
  • 4. Prevent accidents from happening to your eyes. Wear safety glasses when gardening such as mowing the lawn, when playing sports such as squash, or handling dangerous goods or machinery. Always ensure that household aerosol nozzles are turned away from your face. Fireworks pose a hazard to your eyes (most fireworks accidents occur in boys between the ages of 13 and 15). Sparklers, popular with young children, can also cause eye damage.
  • 5. Wear sunglasses, even if its not terribly bright out, to protect your eyes against ultraviolet A and B rays.
  • 6. Eat foods rich in carotenoids, such as kale, raw spinach, and other leafy dark green vegetables.
  • 7. Don’t smoke. Smoking causes damage to the retina

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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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