The Philippine Department of Health reports that as of 2017, 2.17 million Filipinos are affected by bilateral low vision. Around 332,150 people in the Philippines are considered bilaterally blind. Of those who are blind, 33% were due to cataracts while 25% were due to error of refraction. Glaucoma has affected 14% of those who are blind.
However, as shown in recent studies, the risk of having eye diseases or loss of vision can be lessened just by having healthy choices and having regular eye check-ups.
To preserve and protect your eyesight, here are some tips as suggest by some eye specialists for maintaining good eyesight all throughout life.
Switching to more healthy life choices like increasing physical activity, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding bad vices like smoking and drinking alcohol can lessen your risk of getting eye diseases. Dark green leafy vegetables, fruits and fish can boost your eye health. In one study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology, eating foods that are rich with vitamin C can stop the progression of cataracts. Moreover, smoking can double the risk of having age-related macular degeneration and dry eyes.
Be Aware Of Your Family History
You have a 50% chance of developing age-related macular degeneration if one of your close relatives have it. Some eye diseases are inherited. If your family member has glaucoma, your chance of having this condition is also greater. Ask your family members about the eye problems that they have, so that you can seek medical advice from your ophthalmologist as early as possible and know whether you are at risk for having it.
Get a Dilated Eye Exam
Many eye diseases may have no symptoms in their early stages. A dilated eye exam is the best way to detect eye diseases so that they can be treated as soon as possible to help prevent vision loss. Eye specialists recommend that adults have a baseline comprehensive eye exam with an ophthalmologist by the time they turn 40. This is when age-related eye changes often begin to occur. People who are 65 and older should get an eye exam every one to two years. Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure or known eye diseases may need to go earlier and more often.
Protect Your Eyes
Too much sunlight exposure increases your risk of having cataracts, certain cancers and growths in or around the eyes. UV rays are harmful to your eyes, so when planning to go out under the sun, always wear protective eyeglasses. Wide-brimmed hats can also be a big help to protect your eyes.
You are encouraged to follow these tips if you want to protect your eyes and preserve your vision. These may be simple steps but they can save lives!
1. Over 2 million Pinoys blind, sight-impaired | Philstar.com. philstar.com. https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/06/1726085/over-2-million-pinoys-blind-sight-impaired. Published 2018. Accessed November 24, 2018.
2. Taking Simple Steps Can Help Protect Your Sight. American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/newsroom/news-releases/detail/taking-simple-steps-can-help-protect-your-sight. Published 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.