It’s not uncommon for people to worry about eye health until they notice something’s wrong with their vision. Caring for your eyes should begin from early adulthood, particularly if you have a family history of eye diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Taking a proactive approach can help avoid these eye conditions and vision loss later in life. This article explains 5 habits that promote a lifetime of healthy vision and when to visit your eyecare provider.
A healthy diet helps nourish your eyes. Your diet should consist of eye-nourishing foods such as fruits and dark green, leafy and yellow vegetables. Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, contain a nutrient called omega-3 fatty acids that is good for eye health. A balanced diet also helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of obesity or diabetes. Having diabetes increases your risk of diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.
Wear Protective Eyewear
Practice wearing sunglasses when you go outdoors to protect against eye damage caused by sun exposure. A good pair of sunglasses can block out 99 to 100% UVA and UVB radiation and prevent damage to your cornea or lens. Eye damage from sun exposure increases your risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Protective eyewear or goggles should also be worn when playing contact sports or performing jobs that have a risk of eye injury.
Minimize Eye Strain
Prolonged screen time and reduced blinking can lead to eyestrain. It also happens from viewing screens that are too brightly or dimly lit. Symptoms of eyestrain include sore, itchy, burning, watery, or dry eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eyestrain in individuals who work on a computer. Every 20 minutes, turn away from the computer and look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. Remember to blink, wear computer eyeglasses, and adjust the device’s brightness and contrast.
Smoking increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and Dry Eye Syndrome. These conditions are associated with vision loss and blindness, according to the New York State Department of Health. Smokers are three to four times more likely to develop AMD than nonsmokers. AMD is an eye disease that affects central vision, which is needed to see clearly, read, and recognize faces. Smoking includes second-hand smoking, which is equally dangerous for your eyes and health.
Watch Out for Vision Changes
The AAO recommends having a complete eye exam at age 40 for individuals who are otherwise healthy and show no signs of vision problems. However, blurry close-up vision is common and usually starts at around age 40. The symptom is caused by a condition called presbyopia. Your ophthalmologist may prescribe reading glasses to improve your vision. Note that some eye conditions do not show symptoms until they reach an advanced stage. Comprehensive and routine eye exams can help your eye doctor spot and treat these conditions early.
Schedule Your Eye Care Exam Today
A comprehensive eye exam at our eye clinic is straightforward and comfortable. We’ll use different tests to evaluate your vision and eye health to determine if you need eyeglasses or contact lenses. During the exam, we also test for signs of eye damage and common eye diseases that may threaten your vision.