Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes
Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and functioning at their best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes for years to come.
Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.
Know your family’s eye health history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary.
Eat right to protect your sight. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale is important for keeping your eyes healthy.i Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other conditions, which can lead to vision loss. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.
Wear protective eyewear. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity.
Quit smoking or never start. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.ii, iii
Wear Sunglasses Year-round. Sunglasses are essential to protecting your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays which can affect your eyes year-round. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.
Clean your hands and your contact lenses—properly. To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.
Practice workplace eye safety. Employers are required to provide a safe work environment. When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times and encourage your coworkers to do the same.
Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)
i Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. The relationship of dietary carotenoid with vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related macular degeneration in a case-control study. Archives of Ophthalmology; 2007; 125(9): 1225–1232.
iiAge-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. Risk factors associated with age-related nuclear and cortical cataract. Ophthalmology; 2001; 108(8): 1400–1408.
iii U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General (Washington, D.C., 2004).