It’s often taken for granted, but eyesight plays a major role in the overall quality of life. Unfortunately, millions of Americans live with undiagnosed vision problems. Just as you might exercise and eat well to maintain your weight and heart health, there are several easy things you should do regularly to maintain the health of your eyes.
Here are just a few tips to keep your eyesight in tip top shape:
Always wear sunglasses. Just as UV rays from the sun can damage your skin, they can also damage your eyes and cause conditions like cataracts and cornea burns. Invest in a pair of sunglasses that block at least 99% to 100% of harmful UVA/UVB rays, and wear them anytime you leave your house, even on cloudy days.
Kick the Butts. Cigarettes are responsible for a whole host of health problems, so it’s no surprise smoking can also put you at a significantly higher risk for developing eye disease, such as cataracts and chronic dry eye. Fortunately, your risk of eye disease is about the same as for non-smokers shortly after quitting.
Practice good hygiene. Sure, this seems like a no-brainer, but your eyes are sensitive and much more prone to infection than your other organs. Eyeliner and mascara are havens for bacteria, so replace your products every three months, and never share cosmetics or use store samples. If you wear contacts, always wash your hands before handling lenses, and replace your lens case every two to three months. Never wear lenses while swimming or sleeping and only use cleaners that are doctor-approved. As a rule of thumb, avoid rubbing and touching your eyes, and wash your hands frequently to prevent infection if you accidentally do.
Eat for Eye Health. Carrots are notorious for their vision benefits, but many colorful fruits and veggies such as leafy greens, beans and citrus fruits provide similar eye-healthy nutrients. Fatty fish that rich in DHA, the fatty acid found in your retina, such as tuna, salmon and trout, have also been found to promote good eye health.
Get Screened. Last, but certainly not least, be sure to schedule regular eye exams, even if you don’t need glasses. Your doctor can tell you how often to get screened, but if you wear contact lenses, have a diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of eye disease, you may want to see your eye doctor every year. Glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are two common but very serious eye conditions your ophthalmologist can screen for. Left untreated, these eye conditions can cause severe vision loss and even blindness.