Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) Rays increases the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration and cancerous and non-cancerous growths on the eyes and eyelids.
Use sunglasses that block 100% of UV-A and UV-B Rays. This may delay the development of cataracts and protect the retina and the eyelid from damage caused by UV Rays.
Eat a Well-balanced Diet
Eating well helps you maintain a healthy weight. This in turn makes you less likely to develop obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, which is a significant cause of blindness in adults.
Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc and vitamins C and E may help decrease the chance of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. To maintain good eye health, regularly eat green leafy vegetables, oily fish such as salmon and tuna, citrus fruits such as oranges, eggs, nuts, beans and other non-meat protein sources.
Smoking is linked to many adverse health effects. Smokers are at increased risk for developing cataracts and are more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which may result in vision loss.
Wear Adequate Eye Protection
Use protective eyewear if you are performing any hazardous tasks at work or at home. Such tasks include grinding, welding, gardening or any activity where the eye may be injured.
Wear appropriate eye protection to avoid injuries during sports such as squash and hockey.
Get to Know Your Family History
Know your family’s history of eye diseases because you may be at increased risk of developing the same disease. For example, you have an increased risk of developing glaucoma if you have a family member that has been diagnosed with glaucoma. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss and blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent vision loss.
Avoid Eye Strain by Looking Away from the Computer Screen
Prolonged periods of staring at a computer screen or near work can cause eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain. If your eyes are feeling tired:
- then look up from your work every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Position your computer so that your eyes are level with the top of the monitor and there is minimal glare from windows and lights.
- Use a comfortable supportive chair.
- Confirm with your optometrist that your glasses or contact lenses prescription is correct.
Get a Baseline Eye Exam
Adults, 40 years and older, with no symptoms or risk factors for eye disease, should get a baseline eye disease screening examination. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will advise on the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.
Irrespective of age, anyone with diabetes, or symptoms or a family history of eye disease, should consult an ophthalmologist to diagnose the presence of any eye disease and to advise on further management.
A cataract is when your eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy. Proteins in your lens break down and cause things to look blurry, hazy or less colorful.
Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that come into the eye to help us see. The lens should be clear however, if you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy.
People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak.
Or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. All of these changes can steal your vision.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye.
That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.
Your cornea is the clear, dome-shaped window at the front of your eye. It focuses light into your eye. Keratoconus is when the cornea thins out and bulges like a cone.
Changing the shape of the cornea brings light rays out of focus.
As a result, your vision is blurry and distorted, making daily tasks like reading or driving difficult.
Chalazia and Styes
A stye (also called a hordeolum) is a small, red, painful lump that grows from the base of your eyelash or under the eyelid. Most styes are caused by a bacterial infection.
A chalazion is a swollen bump on the eyelid. It happens when the eyelid’s oil gland clogs up. It may start as an internal hordeolum (stye). At first, you might not know you have a chalazion as there is little or no pain. But as it grows, your eyelid may get red, swollen, and sometimes tender to touch. If the chalazion gets large, it can press on your eye and cause blurry vision. Rarely, the whole eyelid might swell.
Pinguecula and a Pterygium
Pinguecula and pterygium are growths on your eye’s conjunctiva, the clear covering over the white part of the eye, believed to be caused by a combination of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, wind and dust.
Pinguecula is a yellowish, raised growth on the conjunctiva. It’s usually on the side of the eye near your nose, but can happen on the other side too. A pinguecula is a deposit of protein, fat, or calcium.
Pterygium is a growth of fleshy tissue (has blood vessels) that may start as a pinguecula. It can remain small or grow large enough to cover part of the cornea. When this happens, it can affect your vision.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. They may appear red, swollen, or feel like they are burning or sore.
You may have flakes or oily particles (crusts) wrapped at the base of your eyelashes too. Blepharitis is very common, especially among people who have oily skin, dandruff or rosacea.
Everyone has some bacteria on their skin. Some people, however, have more bacteria at the base of their eyelashes than other people. This can cause dandruff-like flakes to form. Also, some people have problems with oil glands in their eyelids, leading to blepharitis.
Conjunctivitis is often called pink eye. It happens when the conjunctiva is irritated by an infection or allergies.
Your eyes are red and swollen (inflamed), and sometimes they have a sticky discharge. You can have conjunctivitis in one or both eyes. Some types of pink eye are very contagious.
There are three main types of conjunctivitis: Viral, Bacterial, and Allergic.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged.
With AMD you lose your central vision. You cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far. But your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal. For instance, imagine you are looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see the clock’s numbers but not the hands.
Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. If your eyes do not produce enough tears, it is called dry eye. Dry eye is also when your eyes do not make the right type of tears or tear film.
Normally, our eyes constantly make tears to stay moist. If our eyes are irritated, or we cry, our eyes make a lot of tears. But, sometimes the eyes don’t make enough tears or something affects one or more layers of the tear film. In those cases, we end up with dry eyes.