Two steps you should take to keep your eyes healthy

It's important to take good care of your eyes. Here are two steps you can take to keep them healthy.

Go for eye exams on a regular basis

Few things will have more of an impact on your eye health than the frequency with which you have your eyes examined by an optometrist.

Getting your eyes checked on a regular basis serves two purposes. Firstly, it gives your optometrist the chance to determine if they need to update your prescription. This is important, as failing to wear lenses with the correct prescription can lead to a variety of problems, including eye strain, headaches and blurred vision.

It can also impair your vision, which could be extremely dangerous if you use your glasses or contact lenses for driving, or for when you are using sharp implements (such as shaving your face with a razor or chopping up vegetables with a knife).

Secondly, eye exams can enable an optometrist to detect, diagnose and treat eye conditions, before they cause permanent damage.

For example, if you suffer from diabetes and your optometrist notices that the blood vessels in your retinas have deteriorated, they can then perform further tests to check if you have developed a condition called diabetic retinopathy.

If the additional tests confirm this diagnosis, they can then refer you to a doctor to get your blood sugar levels back under control, so that no further damage is done to your retinas. 

Don't ignore minor changes in your eyesight

It is extremely important not to ignore any changes to your sight, even if these changes appear to be fairly innocuous. The reason for this is that a lot of serious eye diseases produce minor symptoms during their early stages.

For example, if you suddenly develop an aversion to bright light and start to see halos around any light bulbs or street lamps, you may have developed a cataract.

A cataract can lead to vision loss if the condition is not corrected with surgery (during which the affected eye lens is replaced with an artificial lens).

Similarly, if your vision becomes slightly distorted or blurred, or if you can see shadows in your central vision, you may have wet macular degeneration, which needs to be treated with medication to prevent it from worsening.

As such, you should inform your optometrist of any changes to your eyesight, however harmless these changes appear to be.