Early detection and treatment is the best defence against eye disease. Have your eyes tested every two years by an eye health professional.
Early detection and treatment is the best defence against eye disease. Get your eyes tested every two years by your family doctor, optometrist or ophthalmologist. If you notice any change in your vision, you should see your doctor, optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.
Stop smoking. Smoking kills healthy cells and can make you more susceptible to developing eye diseases.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese you could be at risk of developing diabetes which could lead to vision loss such as diabetic retinopathy.
When in the sun, wear sunglasses with a UV filter to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays.
Eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and yellow vegetables such pumpkin and carrot, to help keep your eyes healthy. Adding fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and tuna, and nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts, to your diet can help too.
The eye care team plays an important role in examining and treating our eyes.
Ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is a medical eye specialist, a doctor who specialises in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, including complex and delicate eye surgery. Many ophthalmologists specialise in a certain area of eye care, such as retinal surgery, diabetic eye disease, paediatrics or glaucoma.
Orthoptist. Orthoptists specialise in the assessment and management of eye movement disorders, and rehabilitation to prevent vision loss. Orthoptists work as part of the eye-care team in the areas of neonatal and paediatric eye care, rehabilitation after eye injury, geriatrics, neurological impairment, community services and ophthalmic technology.
Optometrist. An optometrist performs eye examinations, prescribes glasses and contact lenses, and may use drugs to treat some eye conditions.
EYE CARE - CHILDRENS' VISION
Contrary to popular belief, eye disease is not just an affliction of the elderly, it can cause vision loss in babies, children, teenagers and adults alike. The first eight years of a child’s life are critical for eye development.
If problems are not picked up during this time, damage and vision loss can be permanent. The good news is that by being aware and informed, parents can detect the signs of their children's potential vision problems. As having a family history of eye disease puts you at greater risk, it's important for parents to discuss their family eye health history with their parents and grandparents on both sides of the family and if necessary, seek an eye test for the whole family.
Here are 5 tips from The Eye Surgeons' Foundation for your child’s eye health;
Be Eye Aware: Early detection and treatment is the best defence against eye disease. Symptoms to watch out for include rubbing of eyes, poor hand-eye co-ordination, lack of concentration and complaining of headaches, blurred or double vision;
Green is Good: Provide your child with a balanced, nutritious diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and yellow vegetables such as pumpkin and carrot will help to keep your child’s eyes healthy;
Hats Help: Make sure that your child always wears a broad-‐brimmed hat when playing outside as this will reduce the amount of UV reaching your child’s eyes by up to half;
Specs Appeal: When in the sun, make sure your child wears sunglasses with UV to protect their eyes from damaging UV rays;
Balls Galore: Ensure appropriate safety procedures are covered with your child prior to playing sports that include high velocity ball action. Example sports include: tennis, soccer, basketball, squash and hockey.
Research has shown Australian parents could be putting their children’s eyesight at risk, with only nine percent believing their child’s eyesight is the most important aspect of their health.
Good eye health begins with regular testing from birth. The first eight years of a child’s life are critical for eye development. If problems are not picked up during this time, damage and vision loss can be permanent. If you’re a parent, you should be aware that regular eye checks are just as important to a young child’s overall health and wellbeing as other health checks. It’s important to work with your GP, nurse or ophthalmologist to ensure the necessary checks and examinations are conducted at appropriate developmental milestones. Early detection can save sight.
Learn more about children's eye health in the Wyeth Nutrition Eye Health Centre. It is packed with useful information, video clips and even recipes and games for your child.
Your child should have their eyes screened by an eye health professional at birth and during infancy, and followed up with regular examinations through school.
This is particularly important if there is a family history of childhood eye or vision problems and/or if there are any signs that their sight has deteriorated.
Premature babies (low birth weight). Premature babies are at increased risk of eye problems. These babies require examination by an ophthalmologist from an early age.
Newborns. Eye examination is essential to detect any abnormality. Seek referral from your GP for treatment by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
Six to eight weeks of age. Infants should be fixing and following their parents’ faces as a guide, and eye movements should be normal. Turned or crossed eyes require immediate examination from your GP and referral to an ophthalmologist for further assessment.
Up to three years of age. The symptoms listed above for children aged six to eight weeks also apply to children aged up to three years. Lazy eye (amblyopia) is a condition that can only be treated in childhood. If it remains untreated, damage and vision loss can be permanent.
Pre-school aged children. Eye screening is critical in the detection of lazy eye or other causes of poor vision. These are often undetected as there are few outward signs. Lazy eye can occur in up to two percent of young children. Early treatment of lazy eye is important as it allows correction. It is not possible to improve vision at an older age.
Up to six years of age. Difficulty with vision at school for reading or board work, or complaints of difficulty when viewing television. These symptoms may indicate a simple need for spectacles when more serious conditions are excluded. With any vision difficulty, it is best to have the eyes examined by a GP, optometrist or ophthalmologist to prevent a possible condition from worsening.
At any age. Painful or itchy eyes, red irritable eyes or eyes discharging water or mucus suggest infection or inflammation. See your GP immediately.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
Your child may have an eye or vision problem if they are showing any of the following signs. You should seek immediate referral to an ophthalmologist from you GP if you notice any of the following:
Eyes appear to wander or are crossed
Tilting their head to see better
Rubbing their eyes when they are not tired
Avoiding activities such as colouring and drawing which are done close to the face
Squinting to see things
Holding books near to their eyes or sitting close to the television
The prevalence of eye disorders among Australian children is not known with certainty. This makes it difficult to plan for the services these children need, or to argue for research into preventing conditions which cause vision impairment.
RIDBC Renwick Centre has undertaken a major research project to develop and maintain an Australia wide record of children with vision impairment. It will be known as the Australian Childhood Vision Impairment Register.
The register will collect accurate information on children who have been formally diagnosed. This information will then be used to establish the number of affected children, the causes and level of vision impairment and whether these children have additional disabilities. The information will then be used to provide better services and treatment for children. If you are a child or a parent or guardian of a child with a vision impairment, between the ages of 0-18 years, you are invited to join the Australian Childhood Vision Impairment Register.