Health + Prevention

How to keep your eyes healthy

Our most important sensory organs need to be protected and cared for. There are many things to consider in this respect.

16 October 2021
  • How to keep your eyes healthy

Our eyes are constantly exposed to a number of environmental irritants – dust, UV rays, foreign particles and many more. It is therefore important for us to be aware of those things that are good for our eyes, as well as of those that can cause them harm. For this reason, we have put together some useful tips for you.

Our eyes are the window to a world of vibrant color. They allow us to enjoy the wonder of a child's smile, the fascination of the art world, and the indescribable beauty of our planet. When it comes to size, reliability, optical performance, adaptation to changing light conditions, energy consumption and sustainability, our eyes outshine even the most superior state-of-the art camera. So it goes without saying that we should pay particularly close attention to our eyes. Below is a summary of the most important Do’s and Don'ts:

Most important Dos and Don'ts related to eye protection

1. Preventative checkups

Starting as early as birth, we should give our eyes particular attention. This is particularly essential for premature infants and children, whose siblings suffer from strabismus or ametropia. Every child should be examined by an ophthalmologist between the age of 6 and 12 months as well as between the age of 30 and 42 months. Children required to wear eyeglasses from an early age should continue to attend regular checkups.

Motorists should have annual checkups to keep regular tabs on their visual acuity, field of vision, scotopic and color vision as well as their sensitivity to bright light.

For most people, it is important to be tested regularly for glaucoma from the age of 40; for high risk patients, the same applies from the earlier age of 20. Preferably, these tests should be carried out every two years. From the age of 55, the macula should be checked regularly, ideally once a year, to ensure early diagnosis of any age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Smokers or people that spend a lot of time in the sun are at greater risk here.

2. UV protection

Anyone that spends a lot of time in the sun without the proper protection is at risk of sunburn; everyone knows that nowadays. There is one thing that many people do not know, however: the cornea of your eye can also become sunburned, resulting in so-called "snow blindness" or "flash burn." If this occurs, nerve endings in the cornea are left exposed. Symptoms include severe pain and extreme light sensitivity, as well as burning, red, and watery eyes. Occasionally, it can even lead to impaired vision. In the long term, UV exposure can lead to thickening of the conjunctiva and cataracts, as well as to an increased risk of macular degeneration. It is therefore important to wear sunglasses that filter the UV light optimally. Ideally, sunglasses should have a minimum UVA/UVB protection of UV 400. This guarantees that the sunglasses will block all harmful light rays in the ultraviolet range. Tip: large eyeglass lenses are better than smaller ones. The latter allow light through at the top and sides of the frame. Sunglasses are an absolute must when  driving a convertible, during outdoor activities, or cycling.

3. Fresh air

This commodity is not only beneficial to the lungs, heart, and vessels. The corneas of your eyes also obtain their oxygen directly from the air. The reason for this? They do not have their own oxygen supply. Anyone that has to sit in a smoky and stuffy room should frequently relieve their eyes by getting some fresh air. Furthermore, permanent contact lens wearers should have a "glasses day" every now and then to give their eyes a rest.

4. Computers

Studies have finally been able to prove its explicitly: extended periods spent working on a PC and staring at the computer screen make the eyes very dry because we blink much less frequently. It is therefore important to regularly give your eyes a break from the screen when working on a computer. Look away from the screen and into the distance, close and open your eyes occasionally and make a conscious effort to blink. Eye Yoga – see our visual workout tips –  can also be relaxing for your eyes. All of these tips will help to optimally distribute the eye's protective tear film.

5. Hygiene

The eyes are part of our bodies; that much is obvious. But that also means you should always wash your hands before touching or rubbing your eyes.

6. Cosmetics

Anyone who likes to wear eye make-up should only use products that are allergy tested and free from preservatives. Products that irritate the eyes do so by assaulting the protective tear film on the cornea. At night, it is important to remember to remove any mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow from your eyelashes and eyelids.

7. Eye creams

Anyone that uses eye creams should seek expert advice, because the products should not contain any oils that might enter the eye. These oils can disrupt the tear film and lead to allergies. Avoid applying face creams directly to the area around your eyes.

8. Foreign particles

Foreign particles can damage the sensitive cornea and cause the inner eye to become inflamed. But be careful: if a foreign particle punctures the cornea, this puncture closes itself. The damage can then no longer be seen outwardly. If you rub your eye in this condition, however, it can lead to small lesions and abrasions, so it is imperative that you consult an eye care professional. If necessary, your eye care professional will remove the foreign particle and prescribe medication to relieve the inflammation and pain.

9. Chemical burns

Chemical burns are most often caused by acids, alkaline substances, ink, and caustic lime. Such burns are the result of both a direct and indirect influence of heat. In both cases, a severe burning sensation is felt in the eyes which leads to spasmodic squinting of the eyelids. The following applies in all cases: do not rinse your eyes with tap water, as this is unsterile, and consult an eye care professional immediately.

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