What are the Best Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes and Protect Your Vision?
You wear SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays and you choose organic foods whenever you can.
But how much attention do you give to the health of your eyes?
The truth is, most people only visit an eye doctor when they notice changes in their vision.
But by then certain eye disorders like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts have progressed too far for you to do anything to delay their effects.
That’s why it’s so important to protect your vision by proactively taking care of your eyes.
Follow these 8 rules and you’ll give your eyes the best chance of fighting off vision loss in your golden years:
1. Consider Your Medical History
Certain conditions in your family’s medical history may put you at a higher risk of developing eye diseases.
Did grandma have diabetes? Does your father have high blood pressure?
Both of these conditions have the potential to affect the health of your eyes if you inherited them, especially if left untreated. Each of these can lead to the loss of your vision due to eye strokes, AMD, or diabetic retinopathy.
To truly know what your eyes are up against, start shaking the family tree for answers. The sooner you know, the more time you have to prepare a plan to stay healthy.
2. Meet With Your Primary Doctor Every Year
Like we mentioned above, your chances of developing serious eye conditions increase if you’re not treating your medical issues.
Go for regular physical exams with your general practitioner every year. Make sure your doctor checks your blood sugar and blood pressure.
3. Schedule An Annual Vision Test After 40
Did you know that age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy are the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and blindness in the United States?
And more than half of Americans over the age of 65 suffer from some form of cataracts, which cause your eye to become opaque and cloudy and obscure your vision.
Many of these eye conditions don’t present with symptoms or warning signs until it’s too late.
That’s why everyone over the age of 40 should schedule an eye exam with an ophthalmologist every year.
By giving your doctor a baseline when you’re relatively young and healthy, he or she will have an easier time detecting changes in your eye health as you get older. And it’s better to catch one of these anomalies sooner rather than later.
4. Feed and Treat Your Body Right
Your eyes are only as healthy as the rest of your body. So if you’re running on junk food, don’t expect your eyes to be shining beacons of health.
The American Optometric Association says people who skip their recommended daily servings of fruits, veggies, and nuts increase their risk of developing cataracts.
Your eyes crave the antioxidants found in dark green leafy veggies (such as spinach, kale, and broccoli) and deep colored fruits (think blackberries, cranberries, and blueberries).
These antioxidants will fight off free radicals damaging your body’s cells.
Eating fish and nuts rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like walnuts, salmon, and albacore tuna) also reduces your risks of macular degeneration.
Need a reason to kickstart your workout habit?
Studies have shown that exercising regularly reduces your risks of developing cataracts and AMD by as much as 70%!
5. Seriously, Stop Smoking
6. Protect Your Eyes When You’re Under the Sun
We all love sunny days, but those warm, happy sunbeams are harmful — especially when it comes to your eyes.
Did you know that you can actually sunburn your eyes if they’re exposed to too much UV?
You may have felt this after a long beach day when your eyes were temporarily red, tearing, had a gritty feeling, or were super sensitive to light.
To shield your eyes from ultraviolet rays, always wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. These will protect you from the widest spectrum of light.
All the lenses we sell at Glasses Gallery — even our clear glasses lenses — have a UV coating to filter out harmful UVA/UVB rays.
Transitions lenses give you the easiest form of UV protection.
These lenses are clear indoors and darken to a tint just like your sunglasses when you step outside. They’re best if you always forget to take your sunglasses along on your adventures (or hate carrying a separate pair).
While wraparound sunglasses frames will give you additional protection, you’ll score bonus points if you’re wearing a baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat to shield your eyes even further.
7. Protect Your Eyes When Using Digital Screens
People spend almost 11 hours every day staring at screens from laptops, TVs, smartphones, and tablets.
And all these devices give off blue light.
Blue light reaches deeper into our eyes than others on the spectrum so it has more damaging effects on our retinas.
When your retina deteriorates, you’ll start to lose your sharp, central vision and may even lose your vision completely.
Chronic exposure to blue light is a major risk factor in the progression and development of AMD.
But in the short term, constantly soaking in blue light can lead to computer vision syndrome, which is frequently defined by symptoms such as:
- Tired eyes
- Eye strain
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- General fatigue
That’s why you should consider lenses with an anti-blue light coating.
These absorb harmful blue light so it never makes it to your retinas. They also help reduce digital eye strain and fatigue from glare.
Glasses with anti-blue light coated lenses will allow you to use your computer or smartphone for longer periods of time without hurting your eyes in the short or long term.
8. Always Wear Your Safety Glasses (no excuses!)
Whether you’re working with power tools, chemicals, or foreign materials, it’s always important to protect your eyes with safety glasses. Debris and harmful substances can scratch and damage your eye or compromise your vision.
Adults and children should also get in the habit of wearing impact-resistant sports glasses during their activities.
Your Eyes Need Your Help to Stay Healthy
Finding cool, protective sunglasses and anti-blue light lenses is easy to do in the name of better eye health.
Cleaning up your diet, exercising, and keeping up with your annual vision and wellness exams may need a little bit of practice.
Get used to these 8 tips being part of your regular routine and you’ll help your eyes stay strong and healthy for years to come.