Your eyes are an important part of your health, and there are many things you can do to protect them. In light of World Sight Day, which takes place on October 10th, we’re taking the opportunity to share some top tips for maintaining healthy eyes.
Read on to learn about simple steps you can take to keep your eyes healthy.
Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam
Having a comprehensive dilated eye exam is one of the best things you can do to make sure that you’re seeing the best you can and that you’re keeping your eyes healthy. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. In addition, many common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.
Know your family’s eye health history
Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This could help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.
Eat right to protect your sight
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy. Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma.
Wear protective eyewear
Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity.
Quit smoking or never start
Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.
Be cool and wear your shades
Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Give your eyes a rest
If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.
Clean your hands and your contact lenses—properly
To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.
The above tips have been adapted from the National Eye Institute.