It’s eye care awareness month – get your eyes checked
It’s Eye Care Awareness Month and Dynamic Vision is calling on South Africans to get their eyes checked. Too many people wait too long to seek help about their vision problems that not only impact their quality of life but could also put them at risk of blindness. About 50% of vision loss and 80% of blindness is avoidable through prevention or treatment which is why it is important to undergo eye checks at least once a year.1
“There is no better time than now to get your eyes checked. Don’t stop caring for your eyes. Resolve to care for your eyes all year round,” says Dynamic Vision CEO, Ruahan Naude.
Symptoms to be aware of include blurred vision, halos, and blind spots. Blurred vision is when there is a loss of sharpness of vision and not being able to see small details. Blind spots are dark spots or shadows in the visual field in which nothing can be seen. Floaters are small bits of protein that float in the clear gel-like part of the eye and should be checked out by an optometrist. Sudden vision loss can also signal eye diseases and conditions. One is macular degeneration which is one of the leading causes of vision loss or blindness. Another cause of sudden vision loss could be a type of glaucoma, which leads to a rapid buildup of fluid pressure in the eye that damages the optic nerve.
“Also be aware of eye pain and bulging eyes. If you experience any of these, you should see an optometrist straight away,” warns Naude.
He stresses though that many eye diseases and conditions do not have obvious signs or symptoms, especially when they are in the early stages. Catching an eye disease at the early stage means that treatment is timely and this dramatically improves the long term prognosis.
“That is why it is so important to have your eyes checked by an eye care specialist at least once a year. An eye doctor will be able to pick up if there is a problem with your eyes before symptoms even start to develop. Getting proper treatment can potentially save your eyesight,” he explains.
An eye exam will include tests to determine how the eye is seeing, how well the eye bends light and overall eye health. Based on the results, the eye doctor will advise if further tests are needed.
He concludes with care tips for healthier eyes:
- Limit screen time
Spending too much time in front of your laptop or smartphone causes digital eye strain with symptoms including headache, burning eyes, blurred vision, and disrupted sleep. Severe eye strain can lead to permanent vision problems.
- Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to eye strain and eye fatigue.
- Don’t rub your eyes
Rubbing your eyes too hard can break the blood vessels under the eyelids. It can also lead to keratoconus, the thinning and reshaping of the cornea from round to cone, which causes a progressive loss of vision.
- Wear sunglasses
Overexposure to the harmful rays of the sun can lead to photokeratitis, which is sunburn of the front surface of the eye, macular degeneration, cataracts, unsightly growths on your eye’s conjunctiva, and cancer of the eyelid.
- Don’t smoke
Smoking causes dry eyes as well as other eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataract, uveitis, and diabetic retinopathy. Smokers are also more likely to go blind compared to non-smokers.
- Use proper lighting
Working or reading in dim light makes it difficult for your eyes to focus and leads to eye fatigue, dry eyes, redness, pain, and headaches.
- Don’t sleep with contact lenses in
Leaving your contact lenses in your eyes while sleeping, increases your chances of infection and can also lead to permanent damage.
- Reporter, M. (2019, 10 08). Eye Care Awareness Month. Retrieved from Midrandreporter: https://midrandreporter.co.za/eye-care-awareness-month/