Affinity Health Casts Light on Healthy Vision And Eye Protection
Affinity Health, a leading provider of affordable health coverage for all South Africans, gives pointers on how to care for your eyes.
What are Eye Care Essentials?
The weight of winter is almost behind us, and South Africans are looking forward to waking up to blue skies and sunlit days. But, just as the skin can be damaged by the sun, so too can your eyes, especially during the warmer season.
While eye care is essential all year round, it’s especially critical during the summer months. South Africa is famous for its sunshine, boasting an average of 11 hours of sunlight a day during summer. But 11 hours of fun in the sun a day brings 11 hours of possible UV radiation a day.
Over time, sunlight can put your eyes at risk of several conditions, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and thickening of the white parts of the eyes.
Three significant areas of the eye are at risk of UV radiation damage – the front of the eye (cornea and conjunctiva), the crystalline lens inside the eye, and the retina (the image processing part of the eye), according to NCBI.
Sunburn of the cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye), medically known as photokeratitis, causes the eye to become very red, hot, and uncomfortable. The cornea may swell and cause visual difficulty until the healing process has run its course.
Chronic UV radiation can also cause cancer of the cornea and conjunctiva, while increased UV radiation on the retina can result in solar maculopathy and macular degeneration. Both of these conditions could result in central vision loss (where one loses one’s ability to see detail in images).
Fortunately, there are several ways you can protect your eyes and keep them healthy:
- Invest in a pair of sunglasses that block or absorb 99 to 100 percent of UV rays.
- Wear a brimmed hat that shields your eyes from sun exposure.
- Never use a tanning bed without wearing protective eye gear.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, which increases your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. A glaucoma screening is recommended for men and women 60 years and older and detects your risk for glaucoma.
- Avoid smoking as this can increase your risk of developing age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts and can damage the optic nerve.
- Find out whether anyone in your family has a history of eye disease, as this can help you determine if you are at higher risk of developing eye conditions or illnesses.
- Prevent eye strain by giving your eyes a break from the computer, TV, or cellphone, and limit your screen time as much as possible.
“Protecting your eyes goes a long way in keeping your vision sharp,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health. . “The good news is that many eye problems are preventable, and many eye diseases can be treated if caught early.”
Affinity Health offers a wide range of Optometry benefits for members’ optical requirements no matter the time of year to keep your blinkers healthy. Optometry services include eye tests and a standard set of frames with lenses every 24 months.
Should a member require a surgical procedure for the treatment of an eye condition, this is covered under the Daily Illness benefit in a Network Day Clinic or hospital subject to Pre-authorisation and approval, provided the case meets the Affinity Health Clinical Guidelines and Managed Healthcare Protocols.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.