There’s an old adage, “You only get one set of eyes so you need to look after them.” It’s still good advice to this day.
Fortunately, looking after our eyes is not that difficult. Like most things to do with health and the body, it’s really about applying common sense and having very basic check-ups and follow-ups to make sure that you’re looking after your vision.
The big question is, “When should I get my eyes tested or checked?” Well the working rule of thumb for adults is that it really should be done from the age of 40. The next question people ask is, “Who should I go to and who should I see?”  And there are often arguments about this. It’s certainly a good idea to go along and see your GP because they may or may not need to refer you to an ophthalmologist – an eye specialist. Ophthalmologists can do tests for things like glaucoma which is one of the commoner eye conditions. Glaucoma is where there is an increase in pressure in the eye and it is very easy to treat with eye drops.
In terms of a simple eye test for measuring your vision; this can be done by your GP or an optician. Now as people get older, they often find that they need glasses when, as it’s said, “Their arms get too short.” People often find that you have to hold your book a little further away and then one day they think, “this isn’t working – I might need glasses.” This time will come for just about everybody.
So the benefits of see an optician are that they can do a test on your eyes, as well as check your pressure. Once again, if they feel that there is a need, they can send you on to an eye doctor.
The standard eye chart measures your vision at a distance and that’s important for something like driving. It’s also important to measure short-distance vision for reading.
For children, eye tests can usually be done before school. These tests are important as these children are going through their developmental stages.
Now we spoke earlier about people needing reading glasses as they get older. This is for people who become long-sighted. This means that you can see very well off into the distance but you can’t really see what’s straight in front of you. The opposite of that is short-sightedness; meaning that you can see things that are very close but you can’t see things at a distance. Now typically, this begins earlier in life and these are the people who may need glasses as a child, a teenager or as a young adult. As you get older, it can reach a point where those glasses need to be changed and suddenly you find that again, you need the glasses for reading.
Other types of problems with the eyes can involve what’s called astigmatism. This affects the angles of how the light hits the eye. As people get older, some may also develop cataract, which is where the lens of the eye solidifies or becomes opaque. For some people, that may require cataract surgery.  This usually happens as people get older but then again, there are some exceptions.
When looking after your eyes, there are some simple things you need to remember; if you’re doing any work that involves grinding or drilling or where there are bits and pieces flying off – you need to wear safety glasses. If you’re doing any work with sparks or welding, then again, you need to wear safety glasses. When you’re outside and it’s a very sunny day, it’s a good idea to wear sunglasses. Protecting the eyes is a really simple thing to do and it does make a lot of difference. If you’re outside in the summer, it’s a good idea to have sunglasses that have UV protection. So really protecting your eyes is not a difficult thing to do, you just need to remember to do it.
So to sum it up. It is important to look after your eyes as you do only get one set. If particular conditions need to be treated, that can certainly be done. Remember to have regular eye checks. The standard working rule of thumb is around the age of 40 and after that, every 2 or so years, depending. Make a start, either with your GP or an optician and if you need any further assistance, you can certainly be referred on from there.

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