There are many factors that can affect the health of the eye including infections, other medical conditions, injury and trauma and age-related problems. By taking some precautions steps, many of these problems can be minimised, delayed or avoided.
There are many infections that relate to the eye, the most common being conjunctivitis. They are all very contagious and strict hygiene is needed to prevent the spread of infection.
If you are a wearer of contact lenses, it is very important to wash and rinse hands thoroughly before handling the lenses. Eyes should be free of make-up when inserting the lens to avoid particles of mascara etc from being trapped underneath the lens and causing irritation or even infection.
Always use cleaning solutions as directed and do not allow them to expire. These solutions are vital for removing the build-up of protein from the lens.
Eye-make-up should be removed daily to allow the skin to breathe. Use a gentle removal solution and dab the eye, do not rub it. Never share make-up or the brushes/sponges with others as this significantly increases the risk of cross infection. Regular eye examinations (every two years) are important for keeping prescription lenses correct and for early diagnosis of any developing eye disorders.
A good night of undisturbed sleep can be extremely beneficial to eyes. Soreness, puffiness and fatigue will all be avoided. Tired eyes can be rejuvenated by placing slices of cucumber or cold tea bags over the eye area for 10minutes, providing a refreshing pick-me up.
Some dietary considerations may help delay the onset of age-related conditions and encourage good overall eye health. Spinach, leeks blueberries and fish all contain properties known to keep eyes healthy.
By stopping smoking the eyes have less chance of becoming sore and dehydrated. More seriously, smoking can cause irritation to the delicate vessels behind the eyes leading to premature development of macular degeneration which can lead to loss of vision.
Eye protection is essential whether in an occupational context or in bright sunshine.During the summer or when skiing, it is vital to protect eyes from UV rays from the sun and from glare. Always wear suitable sunglasses or goggles that have a recognised UV filter.
If your occupation involves working with chemicals, small particles/dust or body fluids, your employer is obliged to provide protective equipment; it is the responsibility of the employee to use this equipment.
When driving at night or operating equipment, wear glasses or contact lenses that are of an up-to-date prescription. Keep the windscreen clean both inside and out and use a solution that contains an anti-glaring agent; regularly check the integrity of windscreen wiper blades to avoid blurred images.
Occasional accidents do happen and it is important to know how to treat them before professional advice is sought. If a foreign body, even a tiny woodchip particle, enters the eye it is vital to make sure that you do not rub it even if this feels like the natural reaction. Try to stimulate tear production by pulling the upper lid out and downwards, to encourage the foreign body to be flushed away. If this does not work after several attempts, cover the eye with a loose, damp cotton cover (gauze is ideal) and seek advice from either your optician or your doctor.
In the event of an item becoming embedded in the eye, do not try to remove it yourself, again, cover it and seek professional help. Due to the complexity of structures and functions of the eye, treatment of injuries can be very difficult and must be done by a specialist.
Eye care is a very important part of everyday life. The eye is an extremely delicate organ and any damage sustained may result in permanent loss of sight. Regular hand washing and make-up removal are the two most effective ways of preventing irritation or infection to the eye.