The Times Australia

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The Times


Moving beyond Covid-19 and why eye health matters for both young & old

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Eye Health for both young and old has taken a back-seat through the pandemic and has had a big impact on our lives. Ongoing lockdowns have made it challenging for many of us to book in regular eye checks and affected our ability to maintain eye health.

But… with lockdowns winding down, workforces re-opening and kids going back to school and resuming face-to-face learning, the impact that COVID-19 has had on eye health has become ever more relevant.

Lockdowns saw kids across Australia valiantly learning from home and many parents can relate to kids using their laptops or tablets more frequently than what they’d like.

Whilst a necessary reality, this change has increased kids’ exposure to screen-time and could very well have impacted eye-development.

The process of getting eyes checked can be long and scary for some, as our eyes guide us through our day to day lives, but initiatives like World Sight Day have an important message about stepping away from screens and giving our eyes a break.

Optometrist Emmy Cui feels the impact of constant screen time has had “a huge effect, whether adults or kids.”

“It’s been all about the three screens: the big screen, the work screen and the little screen. More screen time has led to a sharp increase in myopia, or short-sightedness, and it’s expected to impact half the world’s population by 2050,” Emmy says.

Whilst maintaining eye health for young Aussies through regular trips to the optometrist is important, the same goes for adults.

Emmy has shared six key tips for maintaining healthy eyes:

  1. Go see your optometrist, especially if you haven’t had your eyes checked in a while

  2. Make healthy food choices – diet has a big impact on eye health

  3. Regular exercise

  4. Quit smoking

  5. Wear a hat and sunglasses when out in the sun and if you’re in certain occupations protect your eyes with goggles

  6. And importantly, take regular breaks from screens and devices

The reality is that we are in a digital age where our eyes are subjected to screens for much of the day, whether it’s for work with our laptops or playing a game on our phones.

The 20-20-20 rule is one that Emmy recommends where, “Every 20 minutes spent using a screen; you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds.” This will give eyes a much-needed break and allow your eyes to recover.

Conditions such as myopia in children and presbyopia in adults approaching the age of 40, are eye health issues that can be diagnosed and treated through regular eye checks. Our eyes are used for everything, they’re an important sense that we often forget to check until a health issue becomes apparent and diagnosed as too late to fix.

World Sight Day is about encouraging Australians to love their eyes and is raising awareness of the importance of being aware of our eye health and having regular check-ups.

Sight for Kids is another important initiative that focuses on the importance of children’s eyesight and helps children globally who are struggling with poor eye health. Whether in Australia or abroad, now is the time to learn about how you can help.

Indeed, now is the time to get regular check-ups, book in with your local optometrist and start the journey to maintaining and ensuring that your eyes are looked after and as healthy as they can be!


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