Caring for Your Eyes

The eyes are two very delicate parts of the body. The eyebrows and eyelashes help to keep dust and dirt away from the eye. Tears bathe the eyes in clear liquid washing away dirt and bacteria. Although your eyes have their own limited protection system, more eye care is needed. To keep eyes healthy and vision clear, have your eyes checked often by a professional.

The Eye Care Experts

Because the eyes are so delicate, a specialist should handle anything other than
routine care. A doctor trained to treat eyes is called an ophthalmologist. He or she is a medical doctor with four years training in eye care. These doctors treat eye injuries and perform eye surgery as needed.

An optometrist is a person trained to prescribe corrective lenses. They conduct simple tests, and diagnose and treat some eye diseases. An optician is a technician who fills prescriptions. They grind and fit lenses, but do not examine eyes for disease or corrective lenses.

Avoid Eye Strain

  • Using your eyes in dim light can cause eyestrain. Good lighting can make reading and other close work easier.
  • Sitting too close to the television (TV) can also cause eyestrain and headaches.
  • Contrary to popular belief, watching TV in a darkened room does not cause eyestrain.
  • Make sure your computer screen is 20 to 28 inches from your eyes and at a 10-20 degree angle.
  • Being exposed to too much sunlight can cause eyestrain and lasting damage.

Wearing Sunglasses

Over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light (UV) can cause eye damage. Research shows too much UV light can cause the cataracts to occur faster. The easiest way to protect your eyes is to wear the right sunglasses. When buying sunglasses, look for glasses that offer "100% UV protection." They do not have to cost much to give this protection. So check the label on the glasses for this phrase.

What Is Nearsighted?

Myopia or nearsightedness is when you cannot see objects at a distance. Seeing street signs, words written on movie or TV screens, and school room chalk or dry erase boards can be a problem with myopia. This eye problem starts mostly between the ages of eight and twelve. It is almost always diagnosed before age twenty. Corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses are prescribed.

What Is Farsighted?

A person with farsightedness or hyperopia has trouble seeing objects up close. It
tends to run in families. Reading books and newspapers are a problem. To correct this problem, glasses are usually prescribed for up close work. But they are not needed for distance tasks like driving.

Wearing Safety Glasses

Wear safety glasses while at work or play that may cause injury to your eyes. Teach your children to also wear protective glasses. Protective shields are also
important during sporting events. Any flying object (baseball, hockey puck, racquetballs, finger pokes) can cause permanent eye injury. Get in the habit of
protecting your eyes by wearing safety glasses or goggles.

Prepared by: Drusilla Banks, Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness, University of Illinois Extension. Chicago Extension Center.

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