Half of the Australian population will experience poor eye health throughout their lifetime, and yet these so-called windows to the soul often go neglected.
The World Health Organization and the Australian Government have both identified eyesight as an increasingly important healthcare topic, due to ageing of the Australian population.
"Cataract removal and other procedures involving the eye are becoming increasingly common, especially in older people," says David Foresto, Queensland President of the Optometrists Association of Australia.
In order to avoid surgical procedures and prolong the longevity of good eye health, there are several simple and natural steps every Australian can take.
Eye conditions are one of the most common long-term health issues affecting Australians
Having a diet that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins C and E, has been proven to reduce the likelihood of vision conditions, such as macular
degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.
"Eating lots of leafy greens such as spinach and kale; as well as oily fish like salmon and tuna will naturally assist good eye health," says Foresto.
Foods which are high in zinc; such as turkey, oysters and crab, also support good eye health because zinc is essential for strengthening retina tissues.
A balanced diet also prevents the incidence of diseases linked to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, which is a leading cause of blindness in adults.
Computer screens and smartphones are undoubtedly a strain on the eye, particularly given how frequently the average Australian uses these technologies.
A recent British study has even predicted that the incidence of myopia, or short-sightedness, will increase by 50% in the next decade due to smartphone use.
This study found that the average British person spends a minimum of two hours looking at their smartphone each day, normally without resting the eyes.
The average British person holds their smartphone 18cm from the face, compared with 40cm for books and magazines. Over long periods, this can lead to myopia.
"Every twenty minutes, rest your eyes by looking away from your screens for at least thirty seconds," says David Foresto.
For every two hours spent at a computer or screen; take a fifteen minute break to reduce strain on the eyes.
Wearing sunglasses may seem like another obvious solution, but protecting the eyes from ultraviolet rays does prevent degeneration.
Sunglasses that block at least 99 per cent of UVA and UVB rays, as well as polarised lenses that reduce glare, will protect the eyes from unnecessary sun damage.
"Sunglasses are really an investment in your long-term eye health," says Foresto.
Prescriptions for glasses will change as the eyes age
An eye examination every two years will also ensure that any prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses are up-to-date and accurate.
"Having the correct prescription will reduce any blurry vision, difficulties in focusing, or headaches that you may experience," says Foresto.
So eat well, wear sunglasses, spend time away from electronic screens, and book in for regular eye examinations; to ensure the eyes have it for years to come.