How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy
Don’t take your eyes for granted. Take these easy steps to keep your peepers healthy.
1. Eat Well
Good eye health starts with the food on your plate.
Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts.
To get them, fill your plate with:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources
- Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
- Oysters and pork
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A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight.
That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
2. Quit Smoking
It makes you more likely to get cataracts, damage to your optic nerve, and macular degeneration, among many other medical problems.
If you’ve tried to kick the habit before only to start again, keep at it.
The more times you try to quit, the more likely you are to succeed.
Ask your doctor for help.
3. Wear Sunglasses
The right pair of shades will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure boosts your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Choose a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side.
Polarized lenses reduce glare while you drive, but don’t necessarily offer added protection.
If you wear contact lenses, some offer UV protection. It’s still a good idea to wear sunglasses for an extra layer.
4. Use Safety Eyewear
If you use hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles.
Sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to an eye injury.
Wear eye protection.
Helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses will shield your eyes.
5. Look Away From the Computer Screen
Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
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To protect your eyes:
- Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date and good for looking at a computer screen.
- If your eye strain won’t go away, talk to your doctor about computer glasses.
- Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor.
- That lets you look slightly down at the screen.
- Try to avoid glare from windows and lights.
- Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
- Choose a comfortable, supportive chair.
- Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- If your eyes are dry, blink more or try using artificial tears.
- Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.
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6. Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Everyone needs a regular eye exam, even young children.
It helps protect your sight and lets you see your best.
Eye exams can also find diseases, like glaucoma, that have no symptoms.
It’s important to spot them early on when they’re easier to treat.
Depending on your eye health needs, you can see one of two types of doctors:
- Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eye care.
- They can provide general eye care, treat eye diseases, and perform eye surgery.
- Optometrists have had 4 years of specialized training after college.
- They provide general eye care and can diagnose treat most eye diseases.
- They don’t do eye surgery.
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A comprehensive eye exam might include:
- Talking about your personal and family medical history
- Vision tests to see if you’re nearsighted, farsighted, have 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
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Your eyes are an important part of your life. Most people rely on their own eyes to see and make sense of the world around them.
But some eye diseases can lead to loss of vision, so it is important to identify and treat eye diseases as soon as possible.
You should have an eye examination as often as your healthcare provider recommends, or if you have new vision problems.
And just as it is important to keep your body healthy, you also need to keep your eyes healthy.
Eye Care Tips
There are things you can do to help keep your eyes healthy and make sure you see what you can do:
1. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Your diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially deep yellow and green vegetables.
Eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut can also help your eyes.
2. Maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity or overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes.
Having diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing retinopathy or glaucoma of diabetes.
3. Exercise regularly.
Exercise can help prevent or control diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
These diseases can lead to certain eye or visual problems.
So if you exercise regularly, you can reduce the risk of developing these eye and vision problems.
4. Wear sunglasses.
Exposure to the sun can damage your eyes and increase your risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block 99-100% UV-A and UV-B rays.
5. Wear eye protection.
To prevent eye damage, you need eye protection when playing certain games, working on tasks such as factory work and construction, and repairing or doing projects in your home.
6. Avoid smoking.
Smoking increases the risk of age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataract and can damage the optic nerve.
7. Know your family medical history.
Some eye diseases are inherited, so it is important to find out if anyone in your family has them.
This can help you determine if you are at high risk for developing eye disease.
8. When wearing contact, take steps to prevent eye infections.
Wash your hands thoroughly before inserting or removing contact lenses.
Also, follow the instructions on how to clean them properly, and install them when needed.
9. Give your eyes rest.
If you spend a lot of time using the computer, do not forget to blink your eyes and your eyes may get tired.
To reduce eyestrain, try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away at about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
Eye Tests and Tests
Everyone needs an eye exam to check for eye and eye problems.
Children often have a vision test at the school or office of their health care provider during the test.
Adults can also get a vision test during their testing. But most adults need more than a vision test.
They need a thorough eye examination.
Getting advanced eye tests is very important because some eye diseases may not have any warning signs.
These tests are the only way to diagnose these diseases at an early age when they are easy to treat.
The test includes several tests:
- View field test to measure your side view (border). Loss of borderline vision can be a sign of glaucoma.
- Visual acuity test, where you read an eye chart of about 20 meters, to test your visual acuity at various stages.
- Tonometry, which measures the internal pressure of your eye. It helps to get glaucoma.
- Dilation, which includes finding eye drops that enlarge (expand) your readers.
- This allows more light to enter the eye. Your eye care provider examines your eyes using a special magnifying lens.
- This provides a clear view of the vital tissues behind your eye, including the retina, macula, and optic nerve.
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If you have a re-error and will need glasses or contacts, then you will have a light test.
If you have this test, you are looking at a device with different power lenses to help your professional eye care eye which lenses will give you a clearer view.
At what age you should start getting these tests and how often you need them depending on several factors. It includes your age, race, and overall health.
For example, if you are an African American, you are at high risk for glaucoma and need to start getting tests early.
If you have diabetes, you should get tested every year.
Ask your healthcare provider when and when you need these tests.