What You Need to Know to Take Care of Your Eyes
If you’re starting to feel like your arms aren’t long enough when you’re trying to read a good book, or if you find yourself struggling to focus when someone shows you a picture of their new grandbaby, you’re not alone. Aging brings many changes, and some of them affect our vision.
While some conditions that cause vision loss may be unavoidable, there are things you can do to take care of your eyes and minimize your risk.
7 Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes
1. Choose a Healthy Diet
You probably already know that your diet can have a huge impact on your overall health. But healthy foods can also go a long way towards protecting your eyesight. Foods that contain nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and Vitamins C and E may lessen your risk of developing eye conditions like cataracts or macular degeneration. Good sources of nutrients that promote eye health include:
- green leafy vegetables
- oily fish
- nuts, seeds, and legumes
- citrus fruits and juices
- sweet potatoes
2. Control Your Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight will help you feel better in the long run, and it can make a difference for your vision too. Many conditions associated with being overweight, like high blood pressure and diabetes, also impact your eyesight. These conditions can cause pressure to build inside the eyes and increase your risk of developing glaucoma. If you have either of these conditions, even if you’re at a healthy weight, it’s important to manage them carefully for the sake of your eyes and your health.
3. Wear Sunglasses
The sun’s UV rays can contribute to cataracts or macular degeneration, but you can protect your eyes with the right pair of sunglasses.
Look for shades that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses will offer even more protection.
4. Quit Smoking
Lung health isn’t the only factor to consider when it comes to smoking. It can also damage your optic nerve and increase your chances of developing cataracts or macular degeneration. If you’re having trouble kicking the habit, don’t give up! Talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to offer some solutions to help you succeed in quitting for good.
5. Look Away From the Computer
If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen, either for work or for enjoyment, it’s important to take regular breaks. Staring at a computer screen, a phone, or a tablet for too long can cause eye strain, dryness, blurry vision, and trouble focusing at a distance. Remember the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes you should look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Take a 15 minute break after 2 hours.
6. Know Your Medications
Some medications, whether they’re prescription or over the counter, have the potential to contribute to eye problems. These range from mild issues like dryness to more serious ones like vision loss.
If you notice any changes in your vision, talk to your doctor right away. Bring a list of all of your prescription and over the counter medications, including herbal supplements, so that if any of these are to blame your doctor can either prescribe an alternative or treat the side effect.
7. Have a Yearly Eye Exam
People over 60 should have a dilated eye exam once a year. During this exam, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will check for common eye diseases that have no early symptoms. Many of them are easier to treat when they’re spotted early. Since vision changes over time, your glasses or contact lens prescription may need to be changed as well.
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