Until the damage is done, eye care is likely one of the healthcare services that is least thought about. Regular check-ups and preventative care should be an important part of your ongoing healthcare because our eyes deteriorate with age.
According to data from the South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, it is estimated that one in 10 people in the nation has some sort of vision problem.
Your eyes can reveal a great deal about the general state of your health, according to Dr Peter Makhambeni, a chief clinician at the National HealthCare Group.
“For example, if you are complaining of extreme tiredness your doctor will look at your inner eyelid, or conjunctiva, to check if you could be anaemic. Pale conjunctiva is a clear sign that you are lacking in iron, which causes anaemia. Swelling and puffiness around your eyes can typically point to allergies, infections, or even poor kidney health,” Makhambeni said in a statement.
There are numerous common eye conditions and vision issues, including cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and intermediate to advanced age-related macular degeneration.
Akshay Persadh, managing executive for insurance at Tymebank, says that with the cost of living very high, it has led to many South Africans downscaling their medical aids or insurance plans.
The traditional "20/20" vision screening that is frequently given to children in schools and paediatrician offices fail to diagnose more than 50% of these serious vision problems, which have compounded social effects, according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Poor vision can make it harder to read and comprehend, which can make learning more difficult.
When patients notice any obvious changes in their vision, Makhambeni advises them to consult with their physician right away. Additionally, it's crucial to have routine eye exams because, regrettably, not all eye conditions and vision issues have early warning signs.
- A grey ring around the cornea's edge may indicate high triglycerides and cholesterol, which may indicate an elevated risk for heart disease and stroke
- Cloudy eyes, in older people typically indicate cataracts
- Droopy eyelids, on both sides, can be a result of an autoimmune disease characterised by muscle weakness
- Diabetes frequently results in changes like microscopic haemorrhages and yellowish blood fat or lipid deposits in the retina. A doctor of ophthalmology can quickly identify diabetic retinopathy.
There are a few simple things you can do to maintain the health of your eyes, according to Makhambeni:
- There is no proof that a healthy diet can improve or restore vision, but omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as other nutrients like carotenoids, have been linked to a lower risk of developing serious eye diseases.
- Carrots, which are high in vitamin A, and oily fish and green leafy vegetables, which are important sources of omega-3 and other essential nutrients, are common examples of food that can be consumed to keep yourself healthy.
- Keeping a healthy weight can lower your risk of developing diabetes, which can cause glaucoma, which appears when the optic nerve is harmed.
- Step away from your screen regularly.
- Exercise can help you manage conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, all of which can harm your eyesight in the long run.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection to prevent sun damage to your eyes.
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