It feels good to be proactive about the health of your eyes. There are a number of easy, everyday steps you can take to help prevent diseases, disorders and injuries.
Eat your greens
There are numerous studies showing that eating the right balance of nutrients can slow the progression of eye disorders. Leafy greens, packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, are a superfood for eye health. These nutrients help reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including macular degeneration and cataracts.
Don’t forget the oil
Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel are terrific for good eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids are “healthy fats” and can contribute to visual development and the health of the retina. They can also help prevent dry eyes.
It’s not just your skin that needs protection from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Proper protective sunglasses can help safeguard against growths on the eye (including cancer) and other eye conditions like cataracts.
Take breaks from your computer screen
If you spend a lot of time on your computer, you’ll most likely suffer from digital eyestrain. This disorder can lead to blurred or double vision, dry eyes and fatigue. To alleviate this, follow the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes. For children, new recommendations include at least 2 hours per day outside play to help minimise the development of myopia.
Wear protective eyewear
Accidents happen all the time. Whenever you’re working in situations where a projectile or chemical exposure are possible, always wear protective glasses or goggles. These situations include heavy yard work, soldering, welding and carpentry.
If you smoke, quit
The number one way to protect your eye health is to not smoke. Smoking increases your risk of developing serious eye conditions that can cause vision loss or blindness.
Cardiovascular exercises can lower intraocular pressure (the pressure in your eyes), which helps to keep the retinal ganglion cells protected. Exercise can also increase the flow of blood to the optic nerve and the retina.
Take blink breaks
If you find your eyes are straining or drying up, take a break. Blinking produces tears that moisten and refresh your eyes. Try to make it a habit to blink more often when you’re in front of your computer. It’s also a good idea to keep eye drops handy.
If your vision changes, make an appointment ASAP
There are some eye conditions that require immediate attention. Remember - it’s always better to be safe than sorry.