Our eyes are precious organs that help us navigate our world. The state of your eyes can also give doctors an insight into your overall health. Having good eyesight helps you perform well at work, home, school, behind the wheel, and everywhere else.
Refractive errors are among the most common vision problems people experience. They occur when an irregularity in the eye’s shape makes it unable to focus images clearly, leading to blurred or distorted vision at far and near distances.
The most common types of refractive errors are:
- Myopia (shortsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Astigmatism (irregular curvature of the cornea)
- Presbyopia (age-related difficulty in seeing or reading close objects).
Refractive errors can be corrected using contact lenses, eyeglasses, or surgery. Contact lenses are special medical devices placed directly on the eyes for vision correction or aesthetic reasons.
There are several types of contact lenses, and wearers must learn how to use them safely as improper use can put the eyes at risk of harmful infections. Here, we look at ways contact lens wearers can maintain their eye health.
Maintain Proper Contact Hygiene
Contact care hygiene refers to the steps you take in ensuring your contact lens is clean and free from harmful microbes. The contact lens type you have determines the care routine you will follow. You may not need to follow any care process with disposable contacts.
Some contacts care tips include
- Wash your hands thoroughly with water and mild soap before handling your contacts. Avoid soaps with perfumes or oils that leave a film on your hands as they can get into your contacts. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel. You may also want to keep your nails short so you do not scratch your contacts or hurt your eyes.
- Clean and disinfect your contacts with the appropriate solution before wearing them to avoid deposit build-up that could compromise your eye health. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedure. Do not use water, saliva, saline, or any liquid other than the approved contact cleaning solution. Do not use the same solution twice and throw away expired cleaning solutions.
- Store your contacts in the approved case when you take them out. Keep the case clean by rinsing with sterile contact solution and open to air dry. Do not touch the tip of the case with your hands or unsterile objects. Replace the case every three months or if it gets damaged.
- Do not swim or shower with your contact lenses. Water contains bacteria that can attach to your contacts and get into your eye, causing vision problems. Take off your lenses before entering a bathtub or pool and clean them before using them again. If you must swim with your contacts, consider wearing water-tight swimming goggles over your contact lenses.
Eat for Your Eyes
A nutritious diet is a vital requirement for overall health and vitality. Even if you need contacts for vision correction, you can improve your eye health and prevent refractive errors by eating for your eyes.
Choose a diet rich in antioxidants, including retinol and Vitamin C. Leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and fish are rich sources of these nutrients. You also want to incorporate omega-3-fatty acid-containing foods like salmon and fish oil into your meals.
Deposits from high-fat diets can constrict blood flow to the arteries that supply blood to the eyes, so it’s best to cut down on their consumption.
Alcohol and saturated fats can cause the formation of free radicals that can compromise the retina. Smoking may increase the oxidative stress your eyes experience and increase the risk of many other health conditions that can affect the eyes.
Take Frequent Screen Breaks
We live in a tech age where it has become almost impossible to avoid digital screens. Spending a lot of time in front of digital devices exposes your eyes to high-energy blue light. This exposure can cause blurred vision, eyestrain, dry eyes, and difficulty focusing on objects at a distance.
If your job requires that you spend lots of time in front of a screen, you can follow these tips to protect your eyes:
- Ensure your contact lenses are up to date and suitable for staring at a digital screen.
- Adjust your screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. Now, look slightly down at the screen.
- Sit on a comfortable, supportive chair that places your feet flat on the floor.
- Adjust the lighting to minimize screen glare.
- Blink frequently and lubricate your eyes with drops if they feel dry or irritated.
- Employ the 20-20-20 technique; look 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
- Leave your workspace every two hours for at least 15 minutes.
Use Protective Eyewear
You can protect your eyes from injury by using protective eyewear, especially when engaging in sports and other physical activities. Eyewear such as safety goggles can also protect your eyes from hazardous or airborne materials in the environment.
Contact lenses with UV protection can protect your eyes from harmful sun rays. Therefore, request for variations with at least 99% UVA and UVB protection when you go shopping.
Get Regular Eye Checkups
Going for regular eye screenings can protect your eyes and help you enjoy optimal vision. Eye exams allow doctors to spot diseases like glaucoma that show no symptoms till they become advanced.
A comprehensive eye exam allows doctors to check for the following:
- Refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia).
- Family medical history of eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
- A dilated eye exam to check the optic nerves and retina.
- Test to see how well the eyes work together
- Test for new contact lens prescriptions or other corrective devices.
If your doctor thinks you are at risk of vision problems, they may schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist to examine your eyes further and provide expert recommendations.
It is essential to place premium care on your eyes and even more if you wear contact lenses. Contacts touch your eyes directly, so you must be strict about their care.
Follow the other care tips to ensure your eyes and overall health are in optimal condition so you can focus on accomplishing your daily goals.