Did you know protecting your eyes can help you improve your eye health and avoid common causes of blindness?
If you have never had a vision problem, you probably didn’t put too much pressure on your eyes. You may not be aware of the changes with your age, some of which can dramatically affect how you see or even lead to blindness.
The good news is that there are several eye vision treatments, and even minor preventive measures, like wearing sunglasses and eating a well-balanced diet, can help protect your eyesight and stave off vision problems later in life.
Here is a list of 10 practical tips to help you protect your vision and prevent blindness for years.
- Eat a Nutritious Diet
Eating a nutritious diet is the number one way to care for your eyes. Add green leafy vegetables to your meal; it is shown that leafy vegetables provide nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin that help to reduce the risk for eye diseases, notes the AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology).
According to the National Institutes of Health, foods that contain Vitamin A also boost eye health, including bright yellow and orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Adding fruits like oranges, strawberries, and mangoes provides vitamin C and other essential antioxidants, which also help fight eye disease. Zinc and omega-3 fatty acids are suitable for tear production, which relieves dry eyes and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Get Regular Eye Exams to Detect Vision Problems Early
A regular eye exam is essential to catch eye problems such as glaucoma or diabetic eye disease. Early disease detection ensures to get timely vision treatment.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in individuals over 50, can also start without any signs in the earliest stages but can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests getting complete eye exams on the following schedule:
- Once in your twenties
- Twice in your thirties
- At the age of 40, when early symptoms of disease or vision changes may become noticeable
- Every year or two if you are 65 or older
- Stop Smoking to Prevent Eye Problems
Smoking leads to severe eye conditions that can cause blindness or vision loss, including cataracts and AMD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you smoke, you are twice as likely to develop cataracts and AMD as individuals who don’t smoke.
Stopping smoking can lower your risk of cataracts and AMD, or if you already have these diseases, quitting may slow the progression of the disease.
- Protect Your Eyes from the UV Rays
Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can alter the proteins within the eye’s lens, ultimately resulting in cataracts and a decline in visual acuity. Over time, cataracts can make vision blurry, foggy, hazy, or less colorful. Furthermore, UV exposure is associated with an increased risk of eyelid cancers, such as basal and squamous cell carcinoma.
To protect your eyes, wear Sunglasses or a hat with at least a three-inch brim and tightly woven fabric are a must when you are out in the sun.
- Keep Screens at a Distance
Working on a computer all day can cause dry eyes. When our eyes’ oily and slimy layers stay strong, they stop tears from disappearing, so our eyes make extra water to make up for it.
Dry eyes can also be caused by:
- Certain medications, including antidepressants
- Hormonal changes due to aging factors
- Apply the 20-20-20 Rule to Avoid Dry Eye
Individuals blink less while staring at screens, which can cause dry, irritated eyes. Experts suggest the 20-20-20 rule for people who spend their workdays in front of computers, laptops, tablets, or other screens. In every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 15-20 seconds. Set a timer to remind yourself to do this if you frequently have trouble with eye strain or dry eyes.
- Control Your Blood Sugar if Possible
According to the CDC, diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in working-age adults. The disease occurs when high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina, which can stop blood flow and cause blurry vision.
Tips to reduce vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy:
- Try to maintain blood sugar levels in your target range.
- Manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Avoid smoking to lower the risk of diabetes-related eye diseases.
- Be physically active to manage diabetes.
- Pay Attention to Your Contact Lens Routine
Good contact hygiene is essential in learning how to protect your eyes. Always wash your hands with soap and water before removing or inserting contact lenses, and store your lenses in a contact solution. Remember not to use any liquids other than this contact lens solution to clean your contacts, and make sure you follow your eye doctor’s instructions for correct use. It’s essential to stick to the schedule for changing your contact lenses. If you don’t, you might get red eyes, infections, or even have trouble seeing clearly.
- Discard Old Eye Makeup
It would help if you learned how to protect your eyes regularly by addressing your makeup products. Old mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow brushes, and other eye-makeup products can be contaminated with bacteria contributing to eye infections. Remember that if your eyes become itchy or irritated, stop using makeup until they heal.
- Your Eyes Speak a Lot About Your Health
Your eyes can indeed tell so much about your health. Dry eyes can indicate rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or thyroid disease. Individuals who have blurry vision could have diabetes or a tumor or may have had a stroke. People with itchy red eyes may have a contact lens allergy they are unaware of.
Pay attention to your vision and overall health to catch problems early and protect your eyesight.