Healthy Habits for a Healthy Vision
If you can see clearly with the aid of glasses or contact lenses, you may assume you're doing everything right to protect your eyes.
But developing additional healthy habits to protect and fortify your vision is paramount.
As you get older, your risk of developing some of the most common causes of blindness, including cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, goes up.
Fortunately, there are measures that you can take to reduce your risks and fuel better vision as you grow older.
Get your vitamins
A number of vitamins and nutrients can help. They include:
Vitamin A. This antioxidant is essential to the vision process and helps protect the surface of the eyes. Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness and, eventually, blindness. Many animal-based foods are high in vitamin A, including liver, oily fish and cheese, but your body can also produce vitamin A from carotenoids found in vegetables like sweet potato, leafy green vegetables and carrots.
Vitamin C. Found in many fruits and vegetables including broccoli, grapefruit, strawberries and oranges, this antioxidant helps lower the risk of developing cataracts.
Vitamin E. Studies have shown that vitamin E may slow vision damage from AMD. You can get it from sunflower seeds, nuts, avocado and plant oils.
Lutein. Lutein, found in high quantities in leafy green vegetables, is thought to filter harmful blue light that enters the eyes and limit damage to the retina.
Mind the sun
Excessive UV exposure can damage the front and back of the eyes and contribute to a number of problems that lead to vision loss, including cataracts, macular degeneration and eye cancers. Buy a quality pair of sunglasses that fully covers the eye area, and make sure the lenses provide 100% UV spectrum protection.
Follow the 20/20/20 rule
Staring at a television, computer, smartphone or tablet screen for hours and hours every day strains your eyes. It is recommended that you take breaks from being fixated at these screens.
This is to calm your eyes and get you blinking because we find that people that spend hours watching TV rarely blink as often as they should.
Blinking lubricates the eye, so not blinking can make your eyes feel dry.
See an eye doctor on the regular
Make a visit to an eye doctor part of your annual preventive care routine — and not just to find out whether your glasses prescription has changed. With a comprehensive eye exam, doctors can detect early signs of eye diseases like glaucoma and AMD that might not yet be causing you any symptoms. These conditions are better treated early to minimize or slow vision loss.
Plus, your eyes can hold clues about other aspects of your health. Sometimes, signs of serious health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can affect your eyes in ways that an optometrist or ophthalmologist can see during a routine eye exam.
So just because your eyes are 10/10 doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for them. Apply these small steps now to manage your screen time, sun time and nutrition, and your eyes will be grateful in the long run.