By Dr. Mark S. Seigel
Did you know that most vision problems are preventable?
It’s true. Vision loss doesn’t have to be a natural part of getting older.
Use our everyday tips to help set yourself up for a lifetime of seeing well.
Wear sunglasses (even on cloudy days!)
Sure, sunglasses are a great fashion accessory. But more importantly, they can protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and help keep your vision sharp.
When shopping for shades, look for a pair that blocks out at least 99 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation. Bonus: add a wide-brimmed hat when you’re out and about for extra protection.
Eat eye-healthy foods
It’s true: carrots are good for your eyes. In fact, a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens like spinach or kale, is important for keeping your eyes healthy.
Research also shows that fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, and halibut can help protect your vision.
Get plenty of physical activity
Regular physical activity comes with a lot of great benefits. It can boost your mood, reduce stress, help you stay at a healthy weight and protect you from serious eye diseases.
Anything that gets your heart beating faster can help keep your eyes healthy, so try going for a quick jog or walk after work.
Give your eyes a rest
Do your eyes ever feel achy at the end of the day?
If you spend a lot of time at the computer or staring at your phone, you may forget to blink and that can tire out your eyes.
Try using the 20–20–20 rule throughout the day: every 20 minutes, look away from the screens and focus about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This reduces eyestrain and helps your eyes (and you) feel better at the end of the day.
Protect your eyes — at work and at play
About 2,000 people in the United States get a serious work-related eye injury every day. And people with sports-related eye injuries end up in the ER every 13 minutes.
The good news is that you can help protect your eyes from injury by wearing protective eye wear like safety glasses, goggles and safety shields.
To make sure you have the right kind of protective eye wear and you’re using it correctly, talk with your eye doctor.
Get regular eye exams
The American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages everyone to take charge of their eye health and preserve their sight. Regular eye exams for young adults and older can detect and treat eye disease prior to potential vision loss. These eye exams can even detect other diseases elsewhere in the body that can cause damage and lead to morbidity and mortality such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.