How to Maintain Good Eye Health
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Don’t take your eyes for granted. Protect your sight with these six tips:
1. Eat for Good Vision
Protecting your eyes starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts, studies show. Regularly eating these foods can help lead to good eye health:
- Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources
- Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
Eating a well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which makes you less likely to get obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking makes you more likely to get cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration. If you’ve tried to quit smoking before and started smoking again, keep trying. The more times you try to quit smoking, the more likely you are to succeed.
3. Wear Sunglasses
The right kind of sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Too much UV exposure makes you more likely to get cataracts and macular degeneration.
Choose sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare when driving.
If you wear contact lenses, some offer UV protection. It’s still a good idea to wear sunglasses for more protection, though.
4. Use Safety Eyewear
If you work with hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles every time.
Certain sports such as ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to eye injury. Wear eye protection (such as helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses) to shield your eyes.
5. Look Away From the Computer Screen
Staring at a computer screen for too long can cause:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
Taking the following steps to protect your eyes:
- Make sure your glasses or contact lens prescription is up-to-date and adequate for computer use.
- Some people may need glasses to help with contrast, glare, and eye strain when using a computer.
- Position your computer so that your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. This allows you to look slightly down at the screen.
- Try to avoid glare on your computer 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.
- Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. At least every 2 hours, get up and take a 15-minute break.
6. Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Everyone, even young children, should get their eyes examined regularly. It helps you protect your sight and see your best.
Eye exams can also find some eye diseases, such as glaucoma, that have no symptoms. It’s important to find these diseases early on, when they’re easier to treat.
Depending on your eye health needs, you can see either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. 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 treat the most common eye diseases. They don’t do eye surgery.
A comprehensive eye exam might include:
- Talking about your personal and family medical history
- Taking vision tests to see if you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, 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 if you have glaucoma
- External and microscopic examination of your eyes before and after dilation
You might also need other tests.