9 Rules For Healthy Eyes
9 tips to keep your eyes healthy
Taking care of your eyes should be a top health priority. Early detection of cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration can help prevent blindness. Check out these 9 tips for maintaining healthy eyes...
1. Get annual eye exams
You’re reading books 2 feet from your face. Road signs are blurry. Your vision has become hazy. Even in healthy people with healthy eyes, it’s normal for vision to change over time.
If you have healthy eyes, schedule a routine exam with an optometrist, who’ll check for vision problems and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. If you think you may have a medical eye problem, such as macular degeneration (vision loss in the centre of your field of vision), cataracts (cloudy eye lenses) or glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve), see an ophthalmologist. They’re medical doctors who diagnose and treat eye diseases, perform eye surgery and write eyeglass prescriptions.
2. Eat right
Certain foods help prevent serious chronic diseases. Are there foods for healthy eyes? Absolutely! Those that contain vitamins C and E, lutein, zinc, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids all contribute to eye health, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA).
Eat these foods
- Kale: Its vitamin A helps protect eye tissues from sunlight damage
- Sweet potatoes: It’s a source of beta carotene, which may slow the progress of macular degeneration
- Strawberries: The fruit contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps reduce risk of cataracts
- Salmon: The fatty fish’s omega-3 fatty acids improve dry eyes
- Green tea: The beverage has antioxidants, which help lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Several large studies show a clear link between being overweight and having cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy (diabetes-related complications that can cause vision loss or blindness). What to do? Make lifestyle changes.
Avoid fad diets, which promise fast weight loss results but aren’t lasting. Instead, take a long-term approach to maintaining your weight, such as eating healthful foods, exercising regularly and balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
4. Protect your eyes
Each year, millions of eye injury occur and about 8% of these people permanently lose part or all of their vision according to a report. Nearly half of those injuries occur in adults ages 18 to 45. The good news: 90% of sports-related injuries can be avoided by using protective eyewear.
Choose the type of eye protection, such as safety shields or eye guards, that matches your sport or job. Make sure they’re made of ultra-strong polycarbonate. Goggles – with either flexible fitting, hooded ventilation, cushioned fit or eye cups – protect your eyes from sparks, chemical splashes, dust and mists.
5. Don’t smoke
Smoking is one of the worst things for eyes. It can bring on cataracts sooner than normal and accelerate macular degeneration. The habit damages your optic nerve too. If that’s not enough, smoking also greatly irritates dry eyes, worsening the scratchy, stinging and burning symptoms.
- Set a quit date.
- Tell family, friends and coworkers you’re quitting.
- Anticipate and plan for challenges quitting poses.
- Remove cigarettes from your home, car and work.
- Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.
6. Wear sunglasses
Sun lovers beware: Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) and other radiation can cause cataracts and other eye diseases, according to the AOA.
UV-B radiation is more damaging to eyes because it’s absorbed by your cornea and lens. But it usually won’t hurt your cornea, the protective outer layer of your eye.
Sunlight contains much more UV-A, which penetrates deeper into the eye and may cause injury. Kids need UV protection more than adults because they often spend more time outdoors.
Prevent it: Choose the right sunglasses. Wear a pair that blocks 100% of UV rays.
Close-fitted or wraparound glasses with large lenses protect your eyes the best, the AOA says.
- Don’t trust claims that sunglasses “block harmful UV,” but don’t reveal by how much.
- Use only lenses that absorb 99% to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B.
- Wear sunglasses even if you use contact lenses and your eyes are dark-colored.
7. Look away from your computer
Sitting in front of a computer for hours can cause eye strain. Symptoms include sore, tired or burning eyes; dry eyes; blurred vision; headache; and shoulder pain. You can avoid these problems.
Prevent it: Employ the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer screen at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Take a 3-minute break from computer work – make a phone call or do filing – every 15 to 30 minutes.
- Stand up, move around and close your eyes for a few moments.
- Blink often to refresh your eyes and avoid dry-eye symptoms, such as itchiness and burning.
- Use preservative-free artificial tears to lubricate your eyes.
8. Clean your contact lenses
Neglecting to keep your contact lenses clean can cause eye damage. Preventing damage requires clean and safe handling of your lenses.
Wash and dry your hands before handling your contacts. Clean your contact lenses regularly (ask your eye doctor how often because it depends on the type of contacts you wear). Here’s how:
- Rub your lenses with contact solution and rinse thoroughly before soaking them overnight in enough multipurpose solution to completely cover the lenses.
- Store them in the proper lens storage case, replacing it every 3 months.
- Clean your case after each use and keep it open and dry between cleanings.
- Use only fresh solution; don’t reuse old stuff.
9. Limit caffeinated beverages
Too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages can cause eye damage. How? Caffeine increases eye pressure, according to the Discovery Eye Foundation, which supports research and treatments for eye diseases. Glaucoma patients are most affected by the stimulant.
Choose decaffeinated drinks. If that’s not possible, limit caffeine consumption to 1 to 2 cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages per day, the foundation recommends.
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