March is National Save Your Vision Month, which is a good reminder not to take healthy eyesight for granted. Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes for years to come.
1. Get regular eye exams
When you’re seeing well and have no irritation, it’s easy to forget scheduling your eye exam. However, it is important to pay regular visits to the eye doctor. Adults, especially those over 40, should have yearly eye exams. This helps to prevent and detect age-related ocular conditions including macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. Children should have their first eye exam by their first birthday. It’s important to detect visual problems that could impede a child’s ability to learn.
2. Know your family’s eye health history
Find out about your family’s eye healthy history, and share this information with your doctor. It is important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This valuable information can help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.
3. Eat healthy for good vision
We have all heard about how carrots are good for our vision. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy. Research has also shown that eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut are beneficial for healthy eyes.
4. Quit smoking
It is no surprise that smoking is as damaging for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage. If you have tried to quit smoking before and started smoking again, keep trying. Studies show that the more times you try to quit smoking, the more likely you are to succeed.
5. Wear suglasses
Protect your eyes the same way you would your skin. Every time you lather on sunscreen, think about shielding your eyes from the sun as well! Make sure to purchase sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
6. Give your eyes a break
If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. To help reduce eye strain try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
7. Protect your eyes
Always wear protective eye wear when necessary at work, at home and at play. If you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles every time. Wear eye protection during sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse to shield your eyes.