If you have good eyesight, it is easy to be smug about your eye health. But if you don’t care about your eyes, you may not always see well.
We spoke with Dr. Shanel Sharma, eye specialist and surgeon from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, to discover the most common mistakes people make when it comes to eye health and how you can easily adjust your ways.
You don’t eat enough oily fish
Eating fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel or tuna at least twice a week is important for good eye health.
“Eating fatty fish is protective against macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older Australians,” Dr. Sharma.
“If you eat them two or three times a week, you have more protection for your eyes than someone who doesn’t eat oily fish.”
You’re not snacking on nuts
Only a handful of almonds, macadamias, cashews or Brazil nuts per week is sufficient to improve your eye health.
“Oily nuts also protect against macular degeneration,” says Dr. Sharma.
“It is also important to eat green vegetables and fresh fruit every day.”
You’re having too much salt and sugar
We often think about reducing our intake of salt and sugar for heart health or weight loss, but Dr. Sharma says that with diabetic eye disease is a major cause of blindness, it is crucial to increase our intake of junk food for both our vision and for other health benefits to be checked.
“High cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors for diabetic eye diseases and macular degeneration, so it’s important to have low salt intake and low sugar intake,” Dr. says. Sharma.
You don’t blink enough
It is easy to consider an automatic blinking thing that does not require our attention, but if you go too long between blinking, you could end up with a nasty case of dry eyes.
That doesn’t mean we all have to blink obsessively – the tip here is about monitoring our screen time because we can get caught in a rigid anesthetic.
“Normally you would blink 12-15 times per minute, keeping your eyes moist, but when staring we only blink two to three times per minute.” Dr. Sharma explains.
“When you stare at phones, iPads and TVs, you often don’t blink and if you don’t get that fluid, you may get eye pain, watery eyes, headache and blurred vision – which can sometimes be mistaken for more sinister causes, such as brain tumors. “
You’re wearing crap sunglasses
Sunglasses are much more than a fashion statement, and if you don’t have a quality pair, you could leave UV light in your eyes.
That’s because sunglasses that don’t filter out UV light can actually be worse for our eyes than wearing no sunglasses – because tinted glass reduces glare, so we open our eyes wider and let in more carcinogenic UV light.
“We should wear wrap-around protective sunglasses that are coated on the back and polarized from dawn to dusk,” says Dr. Sharma.
“It is especially important for children because the maximum UV penetration through the eye to the macula is between zero and two years old.” You would not imagine putting a child outside without sunblock on, so why would you imagine putting them outside without sunglasses on? “