Look Sharp: How To Prioritize Your Eyes In 2019

No more than a few decades ago, taking care of your eyes meant nothing more than eating your carrots, going for your annual eye test to make sure everything is still functioning as it should, and vaguely believing your mother when she says you’ll get square eyes if you stare at the TV screen long enough. Today, things look quite a bit different. Thanks to advanced technology, optometrists can now easily map the eye and its health condition, while the available methods of eye care have greatly evolved as well.

Eye care 2019: Test your eyes and test your health

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Photo by Daniel Frank from Pexels

An eye test today means that you can now access your personal vision profile, which helps you to determine your vision habits and discover which lens solutions will work best for your eyesight. With the latest precision testing made available by Zeiss Vision Centres in partnership with Mellins i-Style and the Zeiss i.Scription, optometrists can now develop a lens based upon your unique eye “fingerprint” – to cater for the needs of your eyes.

This technology – known as the  i.Profiler® – maps out over 2500 points on each eye to develop this precise optimal map of your eye. For the rest of the eye test, a series of mini-tests are performed in order to look at elements such as color vision, depth perception and eye pressure. By determining the intra-ocular eye pressure as well as examining the back of the eye, it is possible to identify any small changes. These indicate that you may be at risk of developing glaucoma. With the assistance of the ophthalmologist, the optometrist will then be able to determine whether glaucoma is a threat and possibly start treating the condition before it has a significant damaging effect on the vision.

Any remaining problems or difficulties with your vision are then determined through a comprehensive eye examination, as well as providing professional advice on eye health. Finally, through the ZEISS Centration Technology, which allows the position of the frame and lenses to be digitally calculated to the nearest 1\10th of a millimeter – and ensures it is in the correct place in your frame and on your face – the lenses can give you 100% optical performance.

“Optometrists generally recommend that most people get their eyes tested every two years,” advises Andre Horn, senior optometrist and MD of Mellins i-Style.

However, in some circumstances, they may recommend more frequent eye examinations, especially if you:

  • are children wearing spectacles
  • have diabetes
  • are older than 40 years and have a family history of glaucoma
  • are aged 70 and older

How to choose your sunglasses

It goes without saying that your sunglasses should provide adequate protection in order to shield your eyes from UV exposure. In fact, when you wear sunnies that are only tinted dark but have no proper UV protection, you prevent the eyes’ natural mechanism – which causes the pupil to constrict in bright sunlight – from functioning normally. With the eye now compromised, long-term damage is a real risk.

According to Rudine Diedericks, senior optometrist and practice manager of the Zeiss-Vision Centre in Fourways Crossing, too much UV exposure increases your risk of eye disease. Moreover, once it is gone, you can never get back your eyesight, which is why it is vitally important to invest in the right sunglasses.

When it comes to selecting your sunglasses, developments in new technologies have ensured we can choose from a wide variety of options – all designed to protect our peepers.

  • Polarized lenses & UV light protection

In order to ensure maximum protection, the sunglasses you choose need to block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Polarised lenses block diffused light, such as sunlight reflected off water surfaces or the pavement. They are particularly useful for driving and fishing as they reduce glare. Thanks to recent developments in lens technology – in particular that of Maui Jim’s PolarizedPlus2® – users can eliminate 99.9% of the sun’s glare as well as 100% of the harmful UV rays that cause damage to the cornea. The technology also works as an effective UB filter for the eyes and surrounding skin, earning them the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation.

  • Yellow filter

Also, called blue blockers because they block all blue light. As a result, the eye perceives the surroundings in a yellowish tint. The benefit is a better contrast for very distant objects, especially on a cloudy day. Best suited for skiers, hunters, sailors and pilots.

  • Mirror lenses

This reduces the quantity of light reaching the eye but do not offer any protection from UV radiation.

  • Side protection

Sunglasses with this feature protect the eyes from light entering from the sides.

  • Gradient tint lenses

The lenses are dark-coloured in the upper part of the spectacles and light-coloured in the bottom. They thus block the glare from above, but permit normal downward vision for the eyes. They are useful for drivers, but are not recommended for the beach because a strong glare can come from below.

  • Photochromatic lenses

These darken automatically when it is bright and lighten when it is dark. Depending on the UV radiation and the temperature, the change in tint can be very quick.

  • Wraparound lenses

These help protect your eyes from the side.

  • Contact lenses

Some contact lenses offer UV protection, but wearing sunglasses can ensure additional protection.

Protect your peepers from the effects of screen time

A true buzzword in the age where most people spend several hours in front of their computer screens during working hours, screen time is unfortunately a necessary evil – and one that exposes us to what is known as blue light. According to Dr Dirk J. Booysen of Dirk Booysen & Associates Inc., approximately one third of visible light is considered HEV or “blue light’.

“Currently we know very little about the effects of blue light on the eye,” Dr Booysen explains. “What we do know is that it scatters more than other visible light and penetrates the cornea readily to reach the retina. Due to this scattering, is not easily focused by the eye, leading to reduced contrast and digital eye-strain. The fact that this type of light easily penetrates all the way to the retina may increase the risks of macular degeneration.”

Photo by Josiel Miranda | Pexels

Luckily, new ways of managing our screen time and exposure to blue light are popping up constantly, while technology is also developing techniques that help to minimise the damage done to our bodies, skin, and eyes. If you spend a big part of your working day like this, it’s important you take the necessary steps to protect your eyesight. Diedericks provides the following advice when it comes to computer care:

1. Consider computer spectacles

These spectacles are specifically designed for people using digital devices. These spectacles are aimed at people between 30-40 years of age. These lenses are designed to support the eye muscle. This will minimize blurred vision, tired and dry eyes.

2. You need lenses that block harmful blue light

Non-visual blue light has an aging effect on the eye and it is found in LED light, TV screens, computer, tables and phones. Also, if you use contact lenses, it is important that you wear your spectacles more than your contacts when using digital devices. This will reduce eye strain.

3. Practice the 20/20/20 rule

Take a break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds and look at something that is 20m away.

4. Optimise your screen

There are a couple of different ways to do this:

  • Use a non-reflective screen, which will help to minimize the glare.
  • Change the format of the screen itself. By enlarging the font and changing the brightness settling on your screen, you will read a lot easier on your screen and eye fatigue will be less. The font size should be 2x to 3x bigger than the smallest font size that you can read. Even lighting is important. Make sure the brightness of your screen matches the lighting in the surrounding room.

5. Blink your eyes more or use moistening eye drops.

When we work on a screen, you tend to blink the eyes less, which leads to dryness. This can cause symptoms like tired eyes, scratchy and burning eyes.

6. Position, position, position

Ergonomics are important, choosing a comfortable chair with good support. Your feet should be flat on the ground. Your screen should be about arm-length away from your face. You should look down on your screen.

7. Take regular breaks

Studies show that sitting all day can shorten your lifespan. Stand up every 2 hours and walk around a bit.

8. Employ the use of an app

Change your iOS to night shift. You can also consider apps like Bluelight Filter for Eye Care, Twilight, EyePro-Blue-Light Filter, Blue Light Filter-Night Mode, Bluelight Filter-Night Mode, f.lux and Bluelight Filter-Eye Care to minimize blue light entering the eyes.

Bottom Line

Your eyes truly are windows – not just to your soul, as the saying goes, but also to the rest of your health. With the nature of our current environments, our eyes need to work harder than ever to keep up with all the information we are constantly exposed to, as well as the makeup, dirt and pollution that’s often right in our faces. Thanks to medical innovation and technological progress in this area, you can ensure your eyes get the very best care currently available. Click on the link to find out which foods can help you get healthier eyes.