There are many things you can do to take care of your eyes. While visiting the eye doctor is an important and necessary step, there are many things you can do on a daily basis to take better care of your eyes.
Below are five little changes you can make today to add to your eye care regimen:
1) Eat Right
Both eye health and overall health rely on what you eat. Diets high in the following may help to prevent age-related vision issues such as macular degeneration:
- Lutein – Lutein is an important nutrients found in green leafy vegetables. It is also found in other foods, such as eggs.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Fats are a necessary part of the human diet. They maintain the integrity of the nervous system, fuel cells, and boost the immune system. Most fish are high in these healthy fats
- Vitamins C- Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. Scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts.
- Vitamin E- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant found in nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes. Research indicates it protects cells in the eyes from unstable molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy tissue.
- Zinc – Zinc plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina. This helps to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes.
2) Wear Proper Protection
Whenever you are outside during the day, wear UV blocking sunglasses to prevent damage from the sun. If you are working with power tools or hazardous materials, always wear safety glasses to prevent debris and chemicals from entering the eyes. For sports such as ice hockey, lacrosse, and racquetball, proper eye protection is encouraged.
3) Quit Smoking
Smoking has many adverse health effects, but it can also cause damage to your eyes. Smokers are more likely to develop cataracts, experience damage to the optic nerve, and experience macular degeneration.
4) Look Away from the Computer
Many jobs require using a computer for several hours a day. This constant strain on your eyes can cause digital eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, and neck or back pain. Taking a break from staring at the screen every few hours will prevent eye fatigue and leave you feeling better at the end of your work day.
5) Get Regular Eye Exams
Everyone, even adults with seemingly perfect eyesight, should get a regular eye exam. Getting your eyes checked on a frequent basis can help to prevent or catch eye diseases that can leave you with permanent vision damage. For example, glaucoma can present with no symptoms or warning signs, and can only be detected during an eye exam or after vision loss has occurred.
A comprehensive eye exam may include some or all of the following:
- Talking about your personal and family medical history
- Vision tests to see if you’re nearsighted, farsighted, have an astigmatism (a curved cornea that blurs vision), or presbyopia (age-related vision changes)
- Tests to see how well your eyes work together
- Eye pressure and optic nerve tests to check for glaucoma
- External and microscopic examination of your eyes before and after dilation
How often you should get an eye exam depends on your age and genetics. Recommendations are:
- Every 1-2 years for individuals 65 and over
- Every 2-4 years for individuals between the ages of 40-64
- Every 3- 5 years for individuals between the ages of 20-39
People with special risks, such as diabetes, a previous eye trauma, surgery or a family history of glaucoma, may need an eye exam more frequently. Check with your doctor about how often you should return for a visit.