Good Vision for Life
Most of the information required for everyday living is obtained through our eyes, yet only approximately 20 per cent of the population had a comprehensive eye examination in 2011 by an optometrist.
This figure is surprising given how important our eyesight is to everyday living. Good vision is essential for driving, playing sports and fulfilling work and school tasks which is why it’s so important that children, teens and parents should incorporate regular eye examinations into their general health regime. During an eye examination, an optometrist will assess your visual clarity while also looking for signs of possible eye conditions or disease. Regular eye examinations can lead to early detection of conditions and diseases. If eye health is monitored throughout life vision loss due to diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma can be detected early and damage prevented or at least minimised.
How to ensure you and your family have good vision for life
• Wear sunglasses when outdoors.
• Use appropriate eye protection when required in the workplace, school and home.
• Know your eyes; understand potential warning signs and look for any changes in your vision.
• Have your eyes examined regularly by your optometrist.
• Eat for your eyes; A balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish provides essential antioxidants that support good eye function.
• Quit smoking
How Well Does Your Child See?
Did you know that 1 in 5 children has an undetected vision problem? Children rarely report a vision problem and although these rarely threaten a child's sight, they can prevent their development and can interfere with learning, behaviour, inhibit sport participation, or create general frustration.
To help give children the best chance of reaching their full potential, it is important for parents to recognise the possible signs and symptoms of vision difficulties:
• one eye turning in or out while the other points straight ahead
• noticeable tilting or turning of the head when the child is looking at something
• frequent blinking or rubbing of the eyes
• red or watery eyes
• difficulty reading, such as skipping and confusing words, and holding a book very close while reading
• complaints of headaches and blurred or double vision
• squinting or having difficulty recognising things or people in the distance.
Creating a healthy eye environment at home is very important and the following useful hints will help you achieve this.
• Take your child to visit an optometrist on a regular basis, especially at the first signs of a suspected vision problem, because once recognised, many eye problems are easy to correct or treat.
• When reading at home, always read in a room with good and even lighting, and encourage regular breaks.
• Encourage your child to spend a few hours outdoors each day. Wearing a pair of sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat while outside will reduce the amount of UV exposure to their eyes.
• When watching television or playing on smartphones, computers or video games, ensure the room is well lit and reduce glare and reflection from lights or windows.
• Limit computer sessions and have short breaks from looking at a computer for at least five to 10 minutes every hour.
• Limit television watching to less than two hours at a time, before having a break, and encourage your child to sit as far as possible from the screen.
• Have the top of computer monitors/televisions at, or slightly below, eye level.
Optometry Australia recommends that children have a full eye examination with an optometrist before starting school and then regular visits as they progress through primary and secondary school.
Driving and Vision
With the school holidays not far away, the importance of good vision when driving cannot be overemphasised. Visual standards for holding a regular driving license in Australia are:
• You must be able to see AT LEAST the “6/12” line on the eye chart (remember 6/6 is good average vision, so 6/12 is relatively generous...I would not like to drive with “just” 6/12 vision)
• Your horizontal visual field must extend at least 120 degrees
• Your vertical visual field must be at least 20 degrees (10 degrees above and below the horizon)
• These tests are binocular
Other visual reasons for not driving:
• Double vision when looking straight ahead
• Loss of visual field (peripheral vision) which may be due to a stroke, glaucoma, brain and eye tumours or eye injury
• Loss of vision in one eye - should not drive for three months after loss
• Eye infections (may be temporary)
• Poor night vision (often seen with advancing cataracts)
Visual standards for a commercial vehicle license are more rigorous.
Reasons for Decreased Vision which may impact on your ability to hold a Driving License:
• Refractive error - short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism
• Ocular disease - cataract, glaucoma, pterygium, diabetes, age-related macular degeneration
• Injury to the eye
Correction of Refractive Error (meaning spectacles or contact lenses to achieve best focus) is especially important at night or in wet conditions. A tint (polarized prescription sunglasses) may be useful for daytime use to minimise glare. Some people who “just pass” the test will still feel more comfortable with glasses. If you drive and are having any vision issues it is recommended you see your optometrist to find the cause and see what remedy is available to you.
Many health funds run on a calendar year, so if you wish to make use of your fund and update your spectacles/contact lenses before the year ends, ensure you make an appointment with your optometrist.
Phone: (02) 6643 2020
Address: 86 Prince Street, Grafton
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