Did you know that 30% of all adults in the United States will experience some stage of vision loss in their lifetime? Although eye disorders are common, it is also important to understand that there are many ways to protect our vision. Here are 8 essential tips for taking care of your eyes.
Eat A Healthy Diet
You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidants and other nutrients that promote eye health. Leafy green vegetables have lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that can cause blindness in older people. Tomatoes, spinach, and other leafy greens also contain lycopene, which is an effective antioxidant that helps prevent macular degeneration as well as other types of cancer.
Wear Prescription Safety Glasses
If you wear prescription safety glasses, make sure they have 100 percent UV protection. If not, get some that do. Also, make sure they have side shields that wrap around your ears, to protect from flying objects. If you wear contacts, ask your optometrist if he or she recommends daily use of contact lens solutions that fight against infections caused by bacteria and viruses like MRSA.
Have Regular Eye Exams
The first step in protecting your eyes is to have regular eye exams. These exams should include dilating your pupils, which makes them more sensitive to light. This allows the doctor to check for signs of eye disease more easily. It’s recommended that you have an eye exam every 12 months and more often if you have a family history of certain conditions such as glaucoma or diabetes. If you wear contact lenses, it’s even more important to visit the eye doctor regularly — at least once a year.
No Eye Rubbing
Don’t rub your eyes or press on them with your fingers. This will only cause irritation and make your eyes red, swollen and itchy. If you need to remove something from your eye, gently dab away the foreign object with a clean tissue or washcloth.
If you’re a smoker, consider quitting. Talk with your doctor about ways to help you stop smoking or cut back on how much you smoke. Smoking cessation programs and counseling services are available at no cost through the National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Treatment Locator, which offers free tobacco cessation counseling and referrals to local treatment providers in every state.