Your eyes, vital as they are, need as much care as the rest of your body. Caring for your eyes will keep them healthy and prevent many of the conditions related to ageing, such as cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. These conditions are among the leading causes of blindness in Singapore.
According to the Singapore National Eye Centre, diabetic retinopathy – a disorder of the blood vessels in the retina of people suffering from diabetes mellitus – is the leading cause of new blindness in working adults in developed countries, including Singapore.
Experts warn that, with the population in Singapore ageing, more people are likely to face serious eye problems unless they adopt healthy practices such as these five listed below:
1. Get regular eye checkups: This could be once a year, or as advised by your ophthalmologist. Checkups are necessary to monitor your eyesight as well as general eye health. A comprehensive eye exam can reveal early signs of eye conditions well before symptoms appear.
2. Wear sunglasses: Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which can increase your risk of cataracts and other eye conditions. Look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 per cent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
3. Give your eyes a rest: If you spend long hours at the computer, adopt the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain – every 20 minutes, look away from the computer screen at a distance of about 20 feet for 20 seconds.
4. Eat healthily and maintain normal weight: A nutritious diet that includes fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy green vegetables, can help you maintain healthy eyes and a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy.
5. Don’t smoke: Smoking increases your risk of cataracts as well as age-related macular degeneration. Studies show that smokers – as well as ex-smokers – have a greater risk of developing macular degeneration than individuals who have never smoked.
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