Take Care of Your Eyes
Expert tips to protect your eyes
Many eye injuries are the result of seemingly
mundane things people have contact with every
day-things like sunlight, sand and other particles,
and chemicals such as cleaning solvents-and their
These days, people spend more time outdoors and
enjoy a more active lifestyle than past generations.
The American Association of Ophthalmology believes
it's important to recognize that sunlight is a
substantial source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation
that may damage eye tissue.
UV damage to the eye's lens may cause cataracts and,
to the retina, eclipse blindness and macular
degeneration. Risk is highest in environments where
a large quantity of UV radiation is reflected, such
as in water. Heat lamps and welding arcs are also
sources of this type of eye damage.
The good news about UV exposure is that it's
reasonably easy to protect your eyes from it. Simply
wearing a hat will reduce your UV exposure by half.
And a proper pair of sunglasses can eliminate
virtually all of the UV as long as the glasses
protect against 100 percent of UV light.
A darker pair of sunglasses isn't necessarily
better. The degree of darkness of the sunglasses
does not indicate how much UV light they absorb. The
best sunglasses block 99 percent of UV light and
wrap around the sides.
Eye injuries are the most common preventable cause
of blindness. A few of the most common causes of
these injuries and how to minimize risks are
1. Fireworks. Make sure an adult supervises any
firework used by children. Avoid any fireworks that
fly, such as bottle rocks and roman candles.
2. On the job. If your job puts you in the path of
flying particles (for example, grinding machines) or
near dangerous substances (for example, in a
chemical factory), you are at greater risk for an
eye injury or blindness. Remember to wear
appropriate protective eye gear always.
3. Home improvement devices. If you use a grinder or
woodworking machines that can spit out debris or
particles, always wear eye protection.
4. Particles and other foreign bodies. Don't touch,
press or rub the eye to remove a particle-doing so
may cause scratching and damage the eye more
seriously. Instead, flush the eye with water for up
to 15 minutes and see your doctor.
5. Household chemicals. In most cases of exposure,
the affected eye should be flushed for 15 to 30
minutes and medical help should be sought
immediately. Your local poison control center can
also give you instructions. Be prepared to give the
exact name of the chemical, if possible.
6. Black eyes. Applying cold compresses
intermittently at about 10minute intervals for the
first 24 to 48 hours after the injury can sometimes
help reduce discoloration. Call your doctor
immediately if you experience symptoms such as
Increased redness, eye drainage, persistent pain and
In the U.S., baseball and basketball are the top two
sports that cause the most eye injuries.
Fortunately, protective eye gear is now required by
many sports organizations.
Worldwide, racquet sports are the number-one cause
of serious sports-related eye injuries.
To protect your eyes when playing sports, make sure
to wear proper eye protection.
Protective goggles or unbreakable glasses can be
very effective in preventing many types of eye
Eye health and vision problems can have a major
impact on a person's life, affecting work, driving,
recreation and, sometimes, daily living tasks.
People can take steps to keep their vision working
at peak performance, minimize the impact of eye
diseases and, in some cases, perhaps prevent eye
Here are some suggestions from the American
A low-fat diet that includes plenty of fruits and
vegetables may help prevent or slow the progression
of age-related macular degeneration.
Starting in childhood, wearing sunglasses outdoors
that block 99 to 100 percent of UV rays (UVA and
UVB) may help guard against cataracts and macular
degeneration in later years.
How to choose sunglass
Practice eye safety habits
Wear the proper eye safety equipment on the job,
when doing eye-hazardous activities at home and when
participating in eye-hazardous sports.
Get professional care
Eye health and vision problems usually occur without
early symptoms, taking an eye exam every year or two
until age 60 and annually thereafter is a must.
Be alert for symptoms
If you have dry eye symptoms such as burning or
gritty eyes, try lubricating your eyes with
artificial tears. However, symptoms indicating a
need for prompt consultation with your eye doctor
include blurred or distorted vision, frequent
headaches after using your eyes, pain of any kind in
the eye, squinting, eye irritation and eye fatigue.
“Protective goggles or unbreakable glasses can be
very effective in preventing many types of eye
Relax your eyes
Take a 5- to 10-minute break every hour from your
computer, other close work, video games or
television viewing to relax your eyes by gazing in
Know how medications may affect vision
Ask your physician, pharmacist or eye doctor about
how your prescription and nonprescription drugs may
affect your vision. Keep all your doctors informed
about the drugs you take and any side effects you
Follow contact lens instructions
If you wear contact lenses, follow your eye doctor's
wearing and care instructions and return for
follow-up visits as recommended. Faillure to do so
can contribute to eye health problems.