Eye care at every age
Posted on 29 September 2016
Dr Jacobus Pauw, an ophthalmologist at Mediclinic Secunda, sheds some light on the importance of eye care – at every age.
Easy on the eyes
Routine eye exams are not only necessary when you get to a certain age or start to experience obvious deterioration in vision. Though we tend to experience more eye problems and changes when we get older, eye examinations are especially important for infants and young children to determine whether their sight is developing properly and that they have the ability to perform adequately in schoolwork and sports.
‘It is especially important to monitor your eye health if you suffer from certain medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or rheumatoid arthritis,’ says Dr Pauw. Special care and caution is also crucial if you wear contact lenses – never sleep while wearing contact lenses and never use them for longer than the recommended period of time.
Eye care tips
Make an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Flashing light
- Tiny specks that appear to float before your eye
- Sudden decreasing or loss of vision in any part of the eye
- Double vision
- When diagnosed with diabetes
- Blurry circles around lights
- A sharp pain in or around your eyes
- Redness, tearing or infection that won’t go away with home remedies or eye drops.
Maintaining your eye health
Dr Pauw offers this one very important tip: ‘Once a month, cover each eye individually with your hand to determine the sight of each eye on its own. A change in one of your eyes often goes unnoticed when you use your eyes as a pair.’
He adds that if you experience lasting symptoms such as redness or irritation, you should rather visit an ophthalmologist. ‘A GP can offer a temporary solution to soothe the symptoms, but could leave the actual cause undetected and this can harm the eye in the long run.’
Here are some easy measures to take care of your eyes:
- Invest in good-quality sunglasses that block out UVA and UVB radiation
- Quit smoking
- Include leafy green vegetables and foods that contain vitamins and antioxidants in your diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get regular eye exams, especially if you have diabetes
- Be aware of your family’s history of eye health
Take a screen break
If you work on a computer all day, you will know that your eyes can start feeling very tired. Take regular breaks by looking at an object approximately 7 metres away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes. You can also use artificial teardrops if your eyes tend to get very dry or scratchy. And remember to blink regularly throughout the day!