Eyes are the windows to the soul. They are among the most utilised sensory organs, helping us absorb the beauty of the world. Probably, a few decades ago, vision problems were not as pertinent and worrisome as they are today!
A World Health Organisation (WHO) report reveals that at least 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment, out of whom 1 billion have a vision-related problem that is preventable or still needs redressal. Thus, when it comes to curative care, we have a long way to go vis-a-vis eyecare.
However, as it is rightly said that prevention is better than cure, we can do our bit from an early age to prevent early onset of vision problems.
Eyecare and the Global Scenario
According to the World Health Organisation, the world faces considerable challenges vis-a-vis eyecare, including ‘inequalities in the coverage and quality of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services.’
Besides, there is a rampant shortage of trained eye care providers worldwide. Lastly, the poor integration of eye care facilities into the overall healthcare structures has also aggravated the problem.
A few of the facts and figures that reflect the grim situation regarding vision and eyecare in 2023 are –
- A Lancet report suggests that an estimated 895 million people globally will develop eye problems by 2050, which is a massive 150 percent increase in the next 30 years.
- A recent report reveals that 2.28 million people in the United Kingdom were deemed as having moderate to severe vision loss in 2020.
- More than 170 thousand Brits were blind.
- Nearly one in five teenagers in the United Kingdom are myopic, and the proportion of myopia among children is more than twice as common as it was in the 1960s.
- The outlook vis-a-vis eyecare is the grimmest for developing countries, but eye problems are more likely to become very common everywhere, including in the most developed regions like the USA and the UK, suggests the WHO.
The few facts mentioned above reveal that vision-related issues are and will continue to be a major source of concern for the generic population, as well as governments and health departments.
If you or your loved ones are yet to be afflicted by conditions, like myopia, hypermetropia, blurry vision, etc., then following some basic preventative tips might help delay or even dodge the conditions.
Top Five Preventative Tips for a Healthier Vision
Delaying proactive decisions regarding eye care can take you downhill. Now is the time to embrace healthy eye habits. Irrespective of your current age or medical history, caring for your eyes now will prevent vision problems later in life.
- Follow a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Excellent eye care begins with your food palette. Nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help you fend off age-related vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Some of the food items you must incorporate in your diet from an early age are –
- Green and leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and collards
- Eggs, non-meat protein sources, nuts, beans, etc
- Oysters and pork
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Oranges and other citrus foods
- Keep Ancillary Health Conditions Under Control
You might be surprised to know that ancillary chronic health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, if uncared for, can lead to vision problems. For instance, type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults.
Therefore, the key is to follow your doctor’s guidelines, maintain a healthy weight and dodge obesity, and take all the prescribed medications in a timely fashion.
- Wear Sunglasses When Outdoors
Religiously wearing sunglasses outdoors can prevent the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun from reaching your eyes. Prolonged exposure to UV rays may facilitate eye problems, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, Surfer’s Eyes, and more.
By choosing to wear oversized sunnies that protect against 99 to 100 percent UV rays of the sun, you save your eyes from a lot of future trouble.
- Quit Smoking
Smoking has many detrimental repercussions, including increasing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Besides, tobacco, cigarettes, and even passive smoking can lead to dry eyes.
So, quit smoking and provide a new lease of life to your vision. Besides, it is noteworthy to mention that smoking also causes various other problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, which indirectly contribute to vision problems.
- Follow the 20-20-20 Rule to Avoid Digital Strain
Excessive exposure to the blue light emitted from digital devices like laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc., might cause problems, such as blurry vision, eye strain, dry eyes, headaches. Therefore, to avoid such issues, you should follow the 20-20-20 rule.
Take regular breaks every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, and focus on it for at least 20 seconds. Besides, wearing blue-light blocking glasses can also help.
Lastly, take a 15-minute break after working in front of the computer for every 2 hours.
So, there we have it, a crisp overview of the top five preventative steps that you can take today for healthier vision.