13 Eye Care Tips Your Optometrist Wishes You Knew

To keep your peepers healthy, make sure to follow these eye care tips from Canadian optometrists.

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Eye care tipsPhoto: Shutterstock

Your Eyes Aren’t Just the Windows to Your Soul

They also hold clues about your health. Eye doctors are often the first to notice serious diseases—including brain tumours, hypertension and diabetes—by examining the condition of the blood vessels in your retina.

Learn to spot more silent signs of diabetes.

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All Adults Need a Biennial Eye Exam

Or an annual one if they’re over 60. A 2018 study by the Canadian Association of Optometrists found that two out of three seniors had an eye condition such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration.

Learn to spot the silent signs of cataracts.

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Watch Out for the "Silent Thief"

Glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness, is called a silent thief for good reason. “In the early stages, it’s asymptomatic,” says Ottawa optometrist Kirsten North. “The only way to catch it before significant damage has occurred is with regular eye exams.”

Find out what your eye colour might reveal about your health.

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Vision testPhoto: Shutterstock

Get Your Eyes Checked Right

A sight test in a store that sells eyeglasses is not the same as an eye exam with an optomet­rist. Using automated equipment doesn’t provide the full picture of your eyes’ health, including muscle coordination, alignment or lens irregularities.

Read the heartwarming story of how one Montreal optician is providing affordable eye care for those in need.

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When Having Your Vision Tested, Relax and Blink Often

If you don’t, the smooth tear film on the surface of your eye starts to break up, making it more difficult for you to tell which lens is clearest.

Find out the likely reasons you always have watery eyes.

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Trendy reading glassesPhoto: Shutterstock

Beware the Online Deal

Thinking about ordering glasses online? Simply inputting your prescription isn’t a guarantee that the specs will fit your vision needs and lifestyle. A prescription that isn’t exactly right can lead to headaches, nausea and fatigue.

Get to know more surprising things that could be triggering your headaches.

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Contact Users: Get Checked Out

Regular eye exams are especially important if you wear contacts. “Because you manipulate your lenses with your hands, you’re at an increased risk of infection,” says North.

Learn to spot the differences between allergies and pink eye.

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Take Your Contacts Out to Sleep

Even just for a nap. “Closing your eyes adds an extra layer blocking oxygen to your cornea, and germs love any environment that’s dark and moist,” says North. If you spend all night with your contacts in, your risk of corneal ulcers is 10 to 15 times greater.

Here are 10 more germ-spreading habits to give up now.

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Never Rinse Your Contacts in Tap Water

Acanthamoeba, a rare but nasty sight-­destroying bug, may lurk in your water supply.

Can you guess which public places have the most germs?

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Digital Eye Strain is on the Rise

And most bifocals and reading glasses aren’t designed for computer use. “Get prescription eyewear specifically for work,” says North.

Find out what it could mean if your eye is twitching.

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Learn to Fight Screen Fatigue

Sit back as far as possible, get rid of any extraneous glare and take frequent breaks: some optomet­rists recommend looking away at least every 20 minutes. “Staring at a screen is like holding a weight over your head,” North says. “Every time you look away, those muscles relax.”

Learn what it could mean if you have a red spot in your eye.

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Eyelash extension procedurePhoto: Shutterstock

Be Careful with Cosmetics

Eyelash extensions are trendy, but the strong glue that holds them on can cause allergic reactions or chemical burns. Reserve those fluttery lashes for special occasions, and be sure to go to a licensed aesthetician who uses sterile equipment.

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Take UV Damage Seriously

Don’t reserve your sunnies for bright days. “UV damage to your eyes is cumulative over your lifetime,” says North. “Make sure the label on your sunglasses says they block 100 per cent of UVA and UVB rays.” Overexposure to UV light is linked to cataracts, macular degeneration, eyelid cancer and corneal sunburn.

Make sure you also follow these sunscreen tips to protect your skin.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada