Statistics indicate that approximately 11 million people in the United States need some kind of vision correction. While many people seek the appropriate eye care specialists to acquire glasses so they can see well, few people consider what they can do on their own to protect their eyes.
From what you eat to what you do, you have choices on how to care for your eyes. And the ways you can do this may surprise you.
By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you will understand better how to protect your eyes from the sun as well as many other environmental factors that can hamper your eye health in the long run.
1. Eat Eye-Healthy Food
What you put in your mouth affects all parts of your body, including your eyes. So the foods that you eat can act as eye protection.
Nutrients such as fatty acids or omega-3 found in fish as well as zinc, lutein, and vitamins E and C help your aging eyes stay young. You can ward off problems like macular degeneration or cataracts by choosing these eye-healthy foods daily:
- Oily fish like tuna and salmon
- Spinach, kale, collards, and other green leafy vegetables
- Nuts, beans, and eggs
- Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits
- Pork and oysters
Furthermore, the good foods you eat will help you stay at a healthy weight, avoid obesity, and stay clear of obesity-related illnesses such as type-2 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Eye experts are now stating that more adults are facing blindness than ever because of the obesity epidemic and cases of type-2 diabetes that cause blindness. Eating healthy keeps your eyes healthy.
2. Shade Your Eyes
Protect your eyes from the sun by using a pair of sunglasses that block 99 to 100% of UVB and UVA rays. Wraparound glasses will protect the side of your eyes.
Studies have shown how ultraviolet lights can lead to cataract formation and retinal degeneration. Thus protecting your eyes from the sun with adequate sunglasses will prevent these eye diseases.
3. Quit Nicotine
Proper vision care means getting rid of damaging habits like smoking. Not only does smoking cause overall health problems, but it also makes you more likely to damage your optic nerve, acquire cataracts, and develop macular degeneration.
4. Exercise Daily
Daily exercise also contributes to vision health. Much like your eating habits, exercise will lower your risk of developing type-2 diabetes. It also lowers the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
These three conditions can all contribute to developing cataracts.
Interestingly, when you engage in cardio activity that gets your heart pumping, your intraocular pressure or the pressure in your eyes lowers. This then increases the blood flow to your optic nerve and retina.
You don’t have to do much exercise to see the positive effects. Even a 20-minute brisk walk five times a week can lower your interocular pressure.
5. Catch Plenty of Sleep
Sleep not only makes your eyes look less puffy and bloodshot, but it also contributes positively to eye health. When you sleep, fluids circulate in your body and hydrate your eyes. This hydration refreshes your eyes and prepares them for the next day.
If you snag fewer than five hours of sleep each night, you will notice more blurred vision because of dry eye, more sensitivity to light, and involuntary twitches around your eyes. All of these indicate you need more sleep.
6. Rest Your Eyes
Screens wear your eyes out more than just about any activity. They require constant visual concentration. Thus, if you work on a screen, give your eyes a rest.
Use the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes and look away from your screen. Stare at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
If you work near a window, this concept works well. Take a minute every 20 minutes to stare out the window and focus on something in the distance.
Also, try to blind every few seconds. Focus on having your lower and upper lids touch when you blink. When you blind, you spread a fresh layer of moisture over your eyes’ surface.
You can also give your eyes a break by turning off overhead lights or installing an anti-glare cover over your computer screen. This will reduce glare, making work easier on your eyes.
Adjust the height of your monitor as well. Our eyes benefit more if the top of the monitor sits at eye level and we look down on the screen. Then you don’t have to have wide-open eyes to see the screen.
7. Maintain Your Eyes With Exams
Visit your eye doctor every one to two years. If you have a family history of eye disease, visit at least once a year.
Eye doctors can treat most age-related eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy if they see the patient early in the stages of the disease. If you wait, you will suffer long-term vision problems.
Also, regularly seeing your optometrist or ophthalmologist gives the doctor a timeline of your eye health. This helps them see trends and gives them more data to successfully treat any eye problems you may have.
Protect Your Eyes Today
While you can’t change the eyes you were born with or the genetics behind your eyesight, you can do small things to protect your eyes. General health matters, so if you eat healthy foods and exercise daily, you’re already taking care of your eyes. Take breaks from screens, get enough sleep, and wear quality sunglasses as well.
Then visit your eye doctor at least once every two years if not more. Doing these things will keep your eyes in excellent shape.
Are you looking for a quality, caring eye doctor? If so, contact us. We serve residents in the Houston Metro area with dedicated, personalized care.
Give us a call today, and let us take care of your eyes.