Your eyes are an important part of your overall health and wellbeing. There are many things you can do to preserve your vision, even well into your golden years. It all starts with having comprehensive eye exams with an eye specialist every 1-2 years. This is the only way to know for sure that your eyes are healthy.
Besides seeing your eye doctor, we have 10 more tips that will help you take charge of your eye health and enjoy improved vision and comfort.
1. Always wear sunglasses. UV radiation can damage your eyes just as it can your skin. Prolonged exposure may lead to cataracts, cornea burns and cancer of the eyelid. Choose sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays.
2. Eat a healthy diet. Citrus fruits, dark leafy greens and whole grains improve circulation and are good for your heart and vision. Beans, lean meat and poultry are rich in zinc, which can help resist light damage. Vitamin A and beta-carotene also lead to better eye health.
3. Don’t ignore symptoms. You should see your doctor every 1-2 years, depending on your needs. If you notice any symptoms in between visits, don’t ignore them. Eye floaters, flashes of light or sensitivity to light can all indicate an underlying problem.
4. Know your health history. Many conditions can affect your eyes, so it’s important to know about your individual and family health history. Specifically, know your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, immune system disorders and cancer. Let your eye doctor know of anyone in the family with eye disease.
5. Toss old makeup. Bacteria loves to grow in eye makeup because it’s creamy. After 3 months, throw away old makeup. If you develop an infection, throw everything away and start fresh.
6. Wear safety glasses during work or play. Did you know that nearly half of all eye injuries happen at home? Furthermore, protective eyewear can prevent up to 90% of sports-related injuries. In other words, wear protective eyewear when playing sports or working at home.
7. Take 20 second breaks from your screen. Whether you’re looking at your computer, tablet or smartphone, follow the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look out at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This prevents your eyes from feeling dry and tired.
8. Read medication labels. Some medications can affect your eyesight. Read all warning labels and take note of adverse reactions such as light sensitivity, blurred vision or swelling.
9. Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk for macular degeneration, cataracts and dry, uncomfortable eyes. It also raises your risk for heart attack and can damage the retina because of the decreased blood flow. If you smoke, stop.
10. Clean your hands. Avoid touching your face and eyes, especially when your hands haven’t been washed. This raises the risk for infection. If you wear contact lenses, clean them thoroughly and replace the lenses as needed.
You only get one pair of eyes in a lifetime. Treat them well with the above 10 tips!