Some vision problems cannot be prevented, but in most cases, you have a considerable amount of control over your eye health. By failing to care for your health and your eyes, you may increase your risk of developing eye conditions such as dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease.
To keep your eyes healthy and your vision strong for years to come, give your eyes the care they deserve. Follow these tips for healthy eyes:
Get regular eye exams. Routine eye health exams aren’t just about checking the acuity of your vision. Eye exams can also result in early detection of many serious eye health problems. Symptoms of many eye conditions won’t appear until the condition has reached an advanced stage, at which time it may be more difficult to prevent vision loss.
If you notice any problems with your eyes, do not ignore them. Symptoms such as vision changes, eye pain, drainage, swelling, sensitivity to light, floaters and flashes of light are all indicators you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.
Even if you do not wear glasses or contact lenses, you should see your eye doctor at least once every two years.
Wear protective eyewear. Whether at work or at play, it’s important to protect your eyes from outside forces that may damage your eyes and cause permanent vision loss. Always wear sunglasses when you are outside, even on cloudy days. Radiation from the sun’s ultra-violet rays can cause cataracts, corneal burns and eyelid cancer. Wear sunglasses that block 100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
If you are working on a job site, on the assembly line or in a factory, wear safety glasses or safety goggles. Protective lenses made of polycarbonate plastic are impact resistant than other materials and will protect your eyes from debris, chemicals or contact injury to the eye. You should also wear protective eyewear when playing sports like basketball, baseball, softball, racquetball and lacrosse. These sports have some of the highest rates of eye injuries.
Eat a healthy diet. What you eat can have a direct effect on your eye health. According to the American Optometric Association, “Adding certain nutrients to your diet every day – either through foods or supplements – can help save your vision. Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration and cataract formation.”
Foods for healthy eyes include colorful fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts, fortified cereals, and fatty fish like salmon.
Take care of your contact lenses. Caring for your contact lenses can help prevent eye damage or eye infection or disease. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes or contact lenses. Clean your contact lenses using approved contact lens cleaners. All-purpose solutions are not the best for keeping your contact lenses clean. Use solutions like Peroxiclear to keep your contacts clean and free of eye irritants. Replace your lenses as instructed by your eye doctor. Avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming or using cleaning products. Doing so may trap bacteria or dangerous chemicals under the lenses. Never sleep in your contact lenses; your eyes need time to rest and sleeping in your contact lenses may make your eyes dry or irritated.