From delving into your family tree to wearing proper eyewear, there are lots of things you can do to give your eye health a boost.
Know your family history. Are there any eye conditions that run in your family? Ask around, then let your eye care provider know so they can assess your risk for those diseases.
Have regular comprehensive dilated eye exams. These exams assess the overall health of your eyes and involve using drops to widen your pupils so the eye care professional can look for signs of disease or damage. The American Optometric Association recommends the following schedule for exams: For adults ages 18 through 64 who are at low risk for eye disease, get an exam every two years; for at-risk populations, that changes to annually. And all people ages 65 and older should have an exam every year.
Move your body and eat well. Being overweight or obese can up your risk for several conditions that contribute to vision loss, including glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. Getting regular exercise and eating a diet that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and saturated with vegetables like carrots and kale will keep your eyes healthy.
Schedule breaks. It’s common to spend hours staring at screens, but it can lead to major eye fatigue. Adopt the 20-20-20 rule to keep things fresh: Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to a point about 20 feet away for 20 solid seconds.
Just say no to smoking. Cigarettes don’t just impact your lungs, they can increase your risk for developing optic nerve damage, cataract and age-related macular degeneration, which can all lead to blindness.
Protect your eyes. Pull on polycarbonate goggles and safety glasses when you play sports, do work around your home, or operate heavy machinery.
Don’t forget your sunglasses. You also need sun protection! Radiation from UV rays can do major damage to your eyes, so buy (and wear) shades that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Wash your hands. Hygiene is always important, but if you wear contacts, it’s imperative that you wash your hands before putting them in and taking them out to avoid infection.
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