Our eyes are constantly exposed to a number of environmental irritants – dust, UV rays, foreign particles and many more. It is therefore important for us to be aware of those things that are good for our eyes, as well as of those that can cause them harm. For this reason, we have put together some useful tips for you.
Our eyes are the window to a world of vibrant colour. They allow us to enjoy the wonder of a child's smile, the fascination of the art world and the indescribable beauty of our planet. When it comes to size, reliability, optical performance, adaptation to changing light conditions, energy consumption and sustainability, our eyes exceed even the most superior state-of-the art camera. It is obvious then that we should pay particular attention to our eyes. Below there is a summary of the most important Dos and Don'ts related to eye protection:
Starting as early as birth, we should give our eyes particular attention. This is particularly essential for premature infants and children, whose siblings suffer from strabismus or ametropia. Every child should be examined by an ophthalmologist between the age of 6 and 12 months as well as between the age of 30 and 42 months. Children required to wear spectacles from an early age should continue to attend regular checkups.
Car drivers should attend annual checkups to keep regular tabs on their visual acuity, field of vision, scotopic and colour vision as well as their sensitivity to bright light.
For the majority of people, it is important to be tested regularly for glaucoma from the age of 40; for high risk patients, the same advice applies from the earlier age of 20. Preferably, these tests should be carried out every two years. From the age of 55, the macula should be also checked in a regular basis, ideally once a year, to ensure early diagnosis of any age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Smokers and people who spend a lot of time in the sun are at greater risk in this case.
As it is generally known, anyone that spends a long time in the sun without the proper protection is at risk of sunburn. However, there is one thing that many people do not know: the cornea of your eye can also become sunburned, resulting in so-called "snow blindness" or "flash burn". If this occurs, nerve endings in the cornea are left exposed. Symptoms include severe pain, extreme light sensitivity as well as burning, red and watery eyes. Occasionally, it can even lead to impaired vision. In the long term, UV exposure can lead to thickening of the conjunctiva and cataracts, as well as to an increased risk of macula degeneration. It is therefore very important to wear sunglasses which filter the UV light optimally. Ideally, sunglasses should have a minimum UVA/UVB protection of UV 400. This guarantees that the sunglasses will block all harmful light rays in the ultraviolet range. Tip: large glasses lenses are better than smaller ones. The latter allow light through at the top and sides of the frame. Sunglasses are an absolute must when driving a cabriolet, rollerblading or cycling.
Air is not only beneficial to the lungs, heart and vessels. The corneas of your eyes also obtain their oxygen directly from the air. The reason for this is that they do not have their own oxygen supply. Anyone that has to sit in a smoky and stuffy room should frequently relieve his/her eyes by getting some fresh air. Furthermore, permanent contact lens wearers should have a "spectacles day" every now and then in order to give their eyes a rest.
Studies have finally been able to prove its explicitly: extended periods spent working on a PC and staring at the computer screen make the eyes very dry because we blink much less frequently. It is therefore important to regularly give your eyes a break from the screen when working on a computer. Look away from the screen and into the distance, close and open your eyes occasionally and make a conscious effort to blink. Eye Yoga – see our visual workout tips – can also be relaxing for your eyes. All these tips will help you to optimally distribute the eye's protective film of grease.
The eyes are a part of our body; that is obvious. This also means that you should always try to wash your hands before touching or rubbing your eyes.
Anyone who likes to wear eye makeup should only use products that are allergy tested and free of preservatives. Some products irritate the eyes by assaulting the protective film of grease on the cornea. At night, it is important to remove any mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow from your eyelashes and eyelids.
Anyone that uses eye creams should first receive some advice, as the products should not contain any irritating oils. These oils can disrupt the tear film and cause allergies. Avoid applying face creams directly to the area around your eyes.
Foreign particles can damage the sensitive cornea and inflame the inner eye. But be careful: if a foreign particle punctures the cornea, this puncture closes itself. The damage can then no longer be seen outwardly. However, if you rub your eye in this condition, small lesions and abrasions could appear. In such occasion, it is imperative that you consult an ophthalmologist who can remove the foreign particle and prescribe medication to relieve the inflammation and pain, if necessary.
Chemical burns are most often caused by acids or bases, for example in lime or household cleaners. The conjunctiva or cornea of the eye may be damaged directly. The eye must be rinsed immediately either to wash the substances out of the eye or to dilute them. If no sterile eyewash solution is available, rinse with potable water or tap water as the best substitute. Consult an eye doctor immediately.