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Our eyesight is, unfortunately, one of those things we take advantage of until it’s at risk. Suddenly, we realise what we stand to lose and vow to look after our eyes. Fortunately, 75% of vision loss is preventable, or treatable, if it’s detected early enough. However every 65 minutes an Australian loses either part or all of their vision. Good eye health is imperative, and it starts at birth. That’s where JulEYE comes in.

An initiative of RANZCO Eye Foundation, JulEYE’s goal is to “raise community awareness of eye issues, raise funding for research projects into the causes and cures of vision impairment and blindness, and support international developmental projects (whose goals are aligned with those of the foundation)”. People are encouraged to have an eye check, in order to prevent eyesight issues. Eye health is crucial especially in young children, when the eye is changing and developing – problems identified during this period can prevent major health concerns later on.

If your child is complaining about headaches, not being able to see the blackboard at school, blurry vision, or displays poor hand-eye co-ordination, a lack of concentration or rubs their eyes, it might be time to get their vision checked. Eyes can be protected with the use of hats and glasses to cut out the UV from the sun, eye protection when playing sports involving high-speed objects (such as tennis or hockey) and a nutritious diet.

There are several eye health issues that you’ve probably heard about. These include:

- Macular degeneration (a degeneration of the centre of the eye; sight is lost from the centre of the field of vision first)
- Glaucoma (a fluid build up inside the eye causes blindness)
- Cataracts (a cloudy area in the eye’s lens, which disturbs vision)
- Trachoma (a bacterial infection, causing scarring).

Any changes in your vision should be addressed by an optometrist.

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