<p>It's easy to take our eyes for granted, without realizing the crucial role they play in how we navigate the world, experience the beauties of life, spend time with our loved ones, and engage in life-long learning. In this fast-paced digital age, where screens dominate our lives and environmental factors pose threats to our vision, it is more critical than ever to prioritize our eye health. Regular eye care is essential to maintain a lifetime of clear vision and healthy eyes.
</p><p>Follow these simple measures to maintain eye health and keep your vision clear, as explained by Dr Karim Damji, Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, the Aga Khan University Hospital:</p><p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>Regular Eye Exams: The Foundation of Eye Health</strong></p><p> Regular eye exams are an important part of ensuring your overall health. Visit your eye care doctor on a regular basis (once a year), especially after the age of 40 (when age-related eye diseases are more common) or if you have a disease that could affect your eyes (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure). Children should have their first eye exam soon after birth and then at the age of 1 year. They should be checked again in their pre-school years, and then once every year after starting school. </p><p><strong>2.</strong> <strong>Protective Eyewear: Shield Your Eyes from Harm</strong></p><p>Whether you're engaged in sports (where a ball could hit the eye), working with power tools, involved in welding arc instruments, or working with hammer and chisel, wearing protective eyewear is essential. Safety eyewear typically consists of protective eye glasses or goggles with polycarbonate lenses that are virtually unbreakable. When outdoors, sunglasses with a UV 400 filter block out up to 99% of ultraviolet (UV) rays, protecting you from the harmful effects of prolonged UV exposure which include cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions. If you are an outdoor worker, then wearing polarized sunglasses (in addition to UV 400 filter) is highly recommended to protect your eyes.
</p><p><strong>3.</strong> <strong>Balanced Diet: Nourishment for Your Eyes</strong><strong> </strong></p><p>Ensure a well-balanced diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, with foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, and fish. Studies show that these nutrients can reduce the risk of many eye conditions, as well as help improve the overall health of your eyes.<strong>
</strong></p><p><strong>4.</strong> <strong>20-20-20 Rule: Relieving Digital Eye Strain</strong></p><p>Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and focus on something 20 feet away while working with screens. This simple practice relaxes your eye muscles, reduces fatigue, and prevents long-term eye damage caused by continuous screen exposure. Additionally, adjust your screen settings to minimize glare and make sure there is proper lighting in your workspace.
</p><p><strong>5.</strong> <strong>Healthy Lifestyle Habits: A Holistic Approach to Eye Care</strong>
</p><ul><li>Exercise regularly – aerobic exercise can help maintain good eye health as it improves blood circulation, ensuring adequate oxygen supply to the eyes.</li><li>Avoid smoking – smoking can increase the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. </li><li>If you have diabetes, good control of your blood sugar can prevent diabetic eye disease and glaucoma.</li><li>If you have high blood pressure, good control of your blood pressure can help prevent eye stroke and glaucoma.</li><li>Practice good hygiene – wash your hands and eyes regularly (avoid building up crusty material on the eyelids). </li><li>If using contact lenses, be sure not to sleep with them at night, as this can increase the risk of serious eye infection. Also never go for a swim with contact lens on.
</li></ul><p>Dr Haroon Tayyab, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, the Aga Khan University Hospital, adds, “Remember to seek immediate medical attention if you experience eye problems, such as persistent red eyes, impaired vision or sudden change in vision (cover one eye and ensure both eyes see well), eye pain, swelling, light sensitivity, or any other unusual changes in your eyes or vision." </p><p>Preventive eye care is not just a choice but a responsibility. By being proactive about our eye health, we can fully appreciate the beauty of the world around us and lead a fulfilling life.