Vision Care: 5 Tips for Healthy Eyes
Of the five senses, sight is arguably the most important—80% of what we perceive around us comes through our eyesight. That’s why it is important to take a proactive approach and protect your eyes. When you keep your eyes healthy, you reduce the risk of developing eye diseases such as a cataract, glaucoma, or macular degeneration and reduce the odds of suffering from eye infections, vision loss, and blindness. Please continue reading to learn some practical tips on eye care that will go a long way in promoting healthy eyes.
How do you keep your eyes healthy?
The health of your eyes is connected with your overall well-being. So, a good way to prevent vision problems and eye diseases is to live a healthy lifestyle in general with a holistic approach to health care.
Besides this, you should be aware of at least the basics of eye care. This includes getting a regular professional eye exam, safety awareness, and hygiene practices like ensuring you wash your hands before handling contact lenses. For people who use airborne/hazardous materials or play contact sports, wearing eye protection or safety glasses is important to prevent eye injuries.
What is some practical eye care advice?
Here are some easy-to-implement practical tips to maintain good vision and help keep eye problems at bay.
1. Eat a healthy diet
Your diet and nutrition play key roles in eye health, which is why it’s important to be mindful of what you’re eating. You should take steps to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and fewer fats, sugar, and processed foods. Not only do certain foods help reduce the risk of vision problems and eye diseases, but a healthy diet is also recommended to prevent diseases such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus, which are the main causes of eye diseases.
2. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
Sunglasses are more than just a stylish accessory. They protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight. Too much exposure to harmful UV rays increases the risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. You should wear a pair of sunglasses that blocks both UVA and UVB rays by at least 99%. Wrap-around styles are great because they protect your eyes from all directions. Keep in mind that sunglasses are not only for summer days. You should wear them year-round, even on cloudy days when UV rays are still present.
3. Limit screen time
Too much time spent looking at a phone, tablet, or computer screen can lead to eyestrain, trouble focusing, blurry vision, and dry eyes. While it is not possible to remove digital devices completely from our lives, moderation in screen use is important. Eye care experts recommend that you follow the 20-20-20 strategy to protect your eyes—this means that after every 20 minutes of looking at a screen, you should look away for 20 seconds at something that is 20 feet away—this helps relieve eye muscle strain. If you have heavy computer usage, artificial tears can help treat eye dryness and keep your eyes healthy. There is no solid evidence that blue-light-blocking lenses protect the eyes or improve vision.
4. Quit smoking
Most people know that smoking can lead to lung cancer and heart disease, but many don’t realize that smoking can also increase the risk of eye diseases like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, optic nerve damage, uveitis, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and dry eyes syndrome. People who smoke are three to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration and cataracts compared to non-smokers. If you smoke, quitting smoking will not only keep your eyes healthy but also greatly reduce your risk of many serious diseases.
5. Get regular eye health checks
Ophthalmologists (eye doctors) and optometrists have more than 100 tests in their eye care arsenal to evaluate visual acuity and other parameters to detect the presence of common eye conditions. It is, therefore, essential that you schedule a regular eye exam. This will help to identify problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and color vision or eye muscle conditions. It will also ensure that any serious eye diseases are identified early on and treated appropriately.
Which foods are good for the eyes?
Best vitamins for eyes
Vitamin A: The retina, which is the light-sensitive membrane in the eyes, needs vitamin A to stay healthy. Lack of this vitamin can also lead to eye dryness.
Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant. It protects the eyes from damaging molecules called free radicals and helps repair and grow new cells.
Vitamin E: This vitamin is an antioxidant that keeps cells in the body, including the eyes, healthy.
The Best nutrients for the eyes
Omega 3 fatty acids: Research suggests that this nutrient can reduce the risk of developing age-related eye diseases.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin: These are antioxidants that protect the macula, the central part of the eye responsible for sharp vision.
Zinc: This mineral offers protection from the harmful effects of light and keeps the retina healthy.
Food that’s good for the eyes
In general, the goal should be to consume a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods. More specifically, orange-colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, and cantaloupes are good sources of vitamin A.
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons as well as peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, and red bell peppers are rich sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin E can be found in nuts and seeds including almonds and sunflower seeds as well as avocados.
Cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, trout, halibut, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collards, lettuce, peas, and broccoli contain nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.
How do you know if your eyes are healthy?
You should be on the lookout for symptoms such as hazy vision, double vision, trouble focusing on near or far objects, and difficulty seeing at various times of the day. Any changes in your vision can be a sign of common problems like nearsightedness or farsightedness that are easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses. However, they should be checked out by an eye doctor because they could indicate something more serious. Other signs and symptoms that might indicate eye diseases include red eyes, swollen eyes, flashes, and floaters.
It is worth remembering that many serious eye conditions can be treated or their progression slowed if they are caught in the early stages. This is why you must see an optometrist or eye doctor for regular exams.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults have an eye exam every two years to evaluate eye health. People who wear glasses or contact lenses, have a family history of eye diseases, have a medical condition such as diabetes that increases your risk of eye health and vision problems, or take medications with serious eye side effects may need to go in for an eye exam more frequently.