• From the moment we wake up until the time we go to sleep, our eyes have a key role in helping us to go about and enjoy our everyday lives, which is why it’s so important to take proactive steps to look after our eyes and keep them healthy. Here are a range of actions you can put in place now to maintain healthy eyes, as recommended by our eye care professionals.


Support And Nourish Your Eye Health From The Inside Out

  • Taking care of your overall health through diet and exercise can not only reduce your risk of developing eye diseases and complications but can also help you stay at a healthy weight, which lowers your risk of obesity and the diseases that are associated with it, such as type 2 diabetes - the leading cause of blindness in adults.

  • To support your eye health, our eye care professionals recommend focusing on:

  1. Diet: Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, to improving vision and overall eye health, and reducing the risk of certain serious eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration.[1] To help prevent vision loss and support eye health, try to incorporate key vitamins and nutrients into your diet such as:[2]
    - Lutein and zeaxanthin are the most potent antioxidants for the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, and they may help to reduce the risk of other chronic eye diseases. These are found in dark green leafy vegetables as well as other colourful fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, corn, peas, persimmons and tangerines.
    - Vitamin C can also slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss. The highest sources include oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers and tomatoes.
    - Vitamin E helps to protect the cells in our eyes from unstable molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy tissue. Excellent sources of Vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts, wheat germ and sweet potatoes.
    - Essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 are an important nutrient for visual health. Studies have suggested that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is essential for optimal visual development, and may even help to prevent retinal damage and degeneration.[3] Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, squid, scallops and mussels, and plant-sourced omega-3s are found in walnuts, linseed/flaxseed, chia seeds and oils such as canola and soybean.
    - Zinc is an important mineral for maintaining the health of the retina and overall vision and eye health.[4] Impaired vision, such as poor night vision and cloudy cataracts, has been linked to zinc deficiency. For natural dietary sources of zinc, try red meat, oysters and other shellfish, and nuts and seeds.

  2. Exercise: Whether it’s a 20 simple minute walk each day, attending a fitness class, or spending a day a week working hard in the garden, keeping your body physically active can help to prevent a range of health conditions that can cause eye health problems, conditions, or vision changes, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

  3. Smoking: While most of us recognise the detrimental effects that smoking has on your lungs, heart and risk of cancer, it can also cause damage to your optic nerve, which is responsible for transporting images from your eyes to your brain - and can result in age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration.


Protect Your Eye Health From The Outside In

  • The eyes are among the most delicate organs in the body, and as such, they’re prone to being damaged easily by external factors in our everyday environments, whether it’s the sun’s harmful UV rays, hazards at work, or even old or expired make-up, putting the eyes at risk of developing infections, injuries and a range of eye conditions.

  • Practical ways you can protect your eyes from the outside in include:

  • - Disposing of old makeup: Make-up, including mascaras, eye shadows, and even foundations and brushes can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can cause infections in the eyes. To avoid this, ensure you replace your make-up products at least every three months, avoid sharing cosmetics with others, steer away from make-up testers and samples in stores, and wash your make-up brushes regularly.

  • - Maintaining correct contact lens hygiene: If you wear contacts lenses, it’s important to take steps to prevent eye infections from bacteria entering your eye, which includes washing your hands and drying them well on a clean towel before putting them in or taking them, and take the time to disinfect your contact lenses and replace them regularly, alongside the support of your optometrist who can guide you on how to do this effectively.

  • - Protecting your eyes from UV rays: Exposing your eyes to large amounts of UV radiation from the sun’s natural rays can contribute to photokeratitis, a type of sunburn of the eye, which can increase your risk of developing cataracts, pterygium (known as surfer’s eye), macular degeneration, and even eye cancers.

  • To maintain healthy eyes:

  • - Wear specialised sunglass lenses that block out 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation, and screen out 75 to 90% of visible light

  • - Consider wearing wraparound frames for additional protection from the harmful sun rays, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight

  • - Wear a wide-brimmed hat whenever you spend time outdoors, and do your best to seek shade

  • - Talk to your optometrist about contact lenses that can provide additional UV protection when renewing your prescription. Optometrists are there to ensure your contacts are the right fit for your lifestyle and level of sun exposure

  • - Be aware about indoor risks: Artificial sources of UV light including tanning beds, lasers and welding machines at work As part of your annual comprehensive eye exam, be sure to mention your exposure to indoor risks as well as outdoor activities so that your optometrist can assess your level of UV exposure and provide you with the appropriate UV-absorbing lenses

  • - Reducing screen-related eye strain: Using computers, screens, smartphones or televisions can increase your chance of experiencing blurred vision and other troublesome visual symptoms, such as eye strain, headaches and dry eyes.[5],[6] To keep your eyes healthy when using screens:

  • - Use the 20/20 rule when working on a computer: every 20 minutes, close your eyes for 20 seconds. If needed, try a post-it note on your computer screen reminding you to blink, or set a timer on your phone to step away from your computer to blink and give your eyes a rest.

  • - Minimise blue light exposure from screens by seeing your optometrist, who can provide specialised lens tints and coatings to reduce the harmful impact that blue light can have on your eye health, and improve clarity and comfort


Get To Know Your Risk Factors

  • Some eye health problems can be related to your genes, which are inherited from your family, and others can be related to other health conditions you have. It’s important to be aware of the risks you have of developing certain eye diseases, so that you can work alongside a trusted optometrist to put preventative strategies in place and keep an eye on changes over time, before symptoms may even be noticeable. Our eye care specialists recommend:

  • - Talking to your family members about their eye history: Glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye conditions can be inherited, meaning that if you’re related to someone with these conditions, you’re more likely to develop them as well over time.

  • - Talk to your optometrist about your other health-related risk factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which can also increase your risk of some eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy - an eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness.


Detect Eye Health Concerns Early With A Comprehensive Annual Eye Exam

  • Even if you have no eye diseases or concerning symptoms, comprehensive eye examinations with an optometrist are recommended every two years here in Australia,[7] and every year if you’re over the age of 65.

  • A comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist every year is important to catch changes in eye health and vision problems early, so that effective treatment and preventative strategies can be put in place as soon as possible - even before you develop any symptoms to suggest that something may be wrong. Through an eye exam, an optometrist can view inside your eye to assess the retina, blood vessels and the optic nerve.

  • Eye health conditions that cause vision loss such as glaucoma, for example, are usually painless, so people don’t typically realise they have it until their eyesight begins to significantly deteriorate. Unfortunately, with glaucoma, any vision you lose cannot be regained, so it’s essential to catch it early and stop it in its tracks. Other eye conditions can also develop over time without pain and only subtle vision changes, but with an annual exam, this can be picked up promptly.


What To Expect At Your Optometrist Appointment

  • In a comprehensive eye exam such as those provided at The Optical Co, your eye care professional uses a gentle approach combined with innovative medical technology including Digital Retinal Photography and Optical Coherence Tomography scans, to go beyond simply assessing eyesight, with the power to help to identify more than 270 serious health conditions, including diabetes, brain tumours, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases and even some kinds of cancer.

  • Your comprehensive exam may include:

  • - Going through your personal and family health history, detailing when your symptoms began, medications you’re taking, work and environmental factors, and more

  • - Visual acuity measurements using reading charts to assess exactly how clearly each eye can see

  • - Tests of your eye health which may include depth perception, colour vision, peripheral (side) vision and how your pupils respond to light

  • - Assessments to measure which power of lens you require to correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism

  • - Eye focusing, eye teaming and eye movement activities to examine how well your eyes focus, move and work together

  • - Eye health examination using a range of technologies to detect underlying conditions

  • After your exam is completed, your optometrist will be able to discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan options with you to protect your eye health and prevent vision loss, to help give you the freedom to do the things you love.

  • At The Optical Co, our friendly optometrists offer targeted care for a wide range of conditions. No matter your eye concerns, every treatment plan is designed uniquely for your needs, preferences, and to help optimise your quality of life.


Don’t delay treatment, get your eyes checked today. To book your comprehensive eye exam, with one of our experienced team members, contact one of your local clinics here.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523787/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523787/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11888/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693724/

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18708259/

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21480937/

[7] https://www.visionaustralia.org/information/eye-health/eye-care