World Sight Day takes place today to raise awareness of the 1 billion people who don’t have access to eyecare. Often, we neglect our vision when it comes to looking after our mental and physical health and this is why it is important to #LOVEYOUREYES. This pledge is all about becoming more aware of the importance of our own eye care, having regular eye exams and recommending others around us to do the same.
According to The International Agency for the Prevent of Blindness (IAPB), there are 4 P’s we must follow in order to keep our eye health in tip-top shape and prevent vision impairment. These are Prevent, Protect, Preserve and Prioritise.
Prevent - Many eye diseases can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet. There are particular nutrients that have been advised to include in our diet in order to prevent many vision related issues:
- Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common causes of blindness in the world and this vitamin is vital for maintaining our eye’s photoreceptors, which are light-sensing cells. Lack of vitamin A may cause night blindness, dry eyes or even more serious conditions depending on the severity of our vitamin A deficiency.
- Luein and zeaxanthin are yellow carotenoid antioxidants known as macular pigments which are found in the central part of the retina. These serve as a natural sunblock and help to protect our eyes against harmful blue light, but it is important to note that these cannot replace the impact of wearing correct protective glasses.
- The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are important for eye health. DHA is found in high amounts in the retina which is important in maintaining eye function and also for development during infancy - making this very important for children and their vision.
- Vitamin C is necessary for eye health and has been known to protect against diseases such as cataracts. Our eyes require the highest amount of antioxidants compared to any other organs in our body, so ensuring that we include high amounts of vitamin C in our diets is particularly important for eye health.
Protect - Protecting our eyes from UV-rays is just as important as protecting our skin with sunblock. As well as this, our eyes endure prolonged exposure to the harmful blue light emitted from our digital screens. Given that on average we will each spend 33 years of our lives looking at digital devices, it is important that we are taking care to protect our eyes from these risks as well by opting for glasses such as our Blue Light Glasses.
Preserve - In order to preserve our vision, it is vital that we get regular eye examinations with a professional eye care practitioner to check our vision and overall eye health. These tests can detect initial signs of eye conditions before we are even aware of any symptoms.
Prioritise - Prioritising eye exams just as we prioritise doctor appointments is the most important of them all. As part of the “Love Your Eyes”, it is essential that we pay just as much attention to our vision as every other part of our body, and also try to educate those around us about how important our eye health really is.
As stated by Sightsavers, 2.2 billion people - a quarter of the world’s population - have a visual impairment and nearly half of this could have been prevented or avoided. Sightsavers’ mission is to tackle the global eye health crisis and raise awareness on how to prevent blindness. So the question stands, we want to get over 1 million people to pledge to have a sight test and promise that they will take more care in looking after their eyes.
Will that be you?
Make the Pledge HERE