How can we maintain good vision and protect our eye health?

Individual needs vary. It's best to consult an Optometrist for a thorough assessment and advice. 

These are some of our favourite useful tips:

  • Take a break from your indoor tasks and step outside.
  • Relax your gaze to a far distance.
  • Spending at least 90 minutes, preferably 2 hours or more outdoors each day may help prevent myopia.
  • Increasing exposure to outdoor light may reduce the risk of myopia - but don't look directly or indirectly at the sun!
  • When outdoors, always remember your good pair of wrap-around sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat can protect your eyes, face, ears and neck from sun damage. 
Continuous screen time in the dark can cause excessive eye strain. 
  • Sufficient room lighting allows you to focus more comfortably and readjust your gaze to different distances around the room.
  • For reading, studying and any other concentrated near tasks ensure you have good light. 
  • Use general ceiling light and also add desk lamps or natural light by the window.
  • Lighting should also be set up to avoid glare, reflections and shadows over your work space.
  • Ensure room lighting is similar to the screen brightness.

    • When working at a desk, sit up straight. 

    • Have a proper chair height to desk height set up to ensure you have optimum working distances.

      Working Distances

      If you can smell your book, it's probably a bit too close for comfort!

      Reading books / reading devices - Place your fist at your chin and your reading distance is at your elbow. 
      Laptop screens – About arms length
      Desktop screen – About arm’s length or slightly further

    • A well positioned document holder can help with periods of data entry from hard copy.  

    • Practice relaxation for your eyes. 
    • Every 10 minutes look up and focus widely on other objects around you 
    • "20/20/20 Rule", every 20 mins, look away past 20 feet for 20 seconds. Set a timer to remind yourself and your children. 
    • Take breaks outside. Practice focusing on moving objects or far distant objects
    • Go for a walk (preferably outside) and let your eyes readjust to focus into the distance
    • Some general exercise can stimulate blood circulation and relieve stress
    • Staring at screens or reading tends to reduce our blink rates, so make an effort to blink more frequently during these activities

      • Children < 18 months should avoid screen time (no screen time), other than brief video chats
      • Children < 5 years should spend no more than 1 hour looking at screens each day, preferably less than 1 hour. (maximum 15-20 minute periods, have regular breaks)
      • Students 5 to 18 years old should spend no more than 2 hours on recreational screen time, and follow guidelines as described above.

        World Health Organization. (‎2019)‎. Guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age. World Health Organization. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO
      • Try to avoid digital screen time 1 hour before bedtime. 
      • Have good quality sleep in a fully dark bedroom, avoiding night lights when possible. For adults, 7-9 hours of good sleep per night may be adequate. However, children and teenagers need more sleep.
        Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Young People (5-17 years) – An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep."An uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years."

      • Poor sleep can negatively affect your general health and eye health. For example, sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea have been linked to the risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma and central serous chorioretinopathy.

      • Consult your GP or a sleep physician if you suspect you have a sleep disorder. 
      • Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of colourful vegetables and fruits, fish and nuts.
      • Drink 2 - 3L of water daily. That is 1 cup of water every 2 hours or so. Space it out throughout the day.
      • Don't smoke.
      • Avoid excess alcohol consumption or don't drink at all.
      • There are certain nutrients which are particularly good for eye health. See our > Nutrition discussion. 

      • Sudden symptoms of loss of vision, eye pain, blur, spots/flashes, red eyes, should be reviewed immediately.

      • Optometrists generally try to see urgent cases on the same day, if unable to then we may refer to another optometry clinic, a local ophthalmologist or Sydney Eye Hospital for emergency care.

        We've listed some eye symptoms to look out for, see > Eye Symptoms

      • Children and adults at risk of myopia development may require 6 monthly or more frequent reviews.
      • Patients at risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and accelerated cataract progression may require 6 monthly or more frequent reviews.
      • Schedule your follow up appointments to ensure you don't miss a timely review. 

      > Medical Disclaimer