Eye Care

Daily and lifelong tips for healthy, long-lasting vision

Our vision is extremely important, however many people brush annual doctor visits aside, assuming our eyesight will take care of itself. The sad reality is that every year, thousands of people are diagnosed with macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, which are some of the most common eye problems. To help prevent excess wear and tear on your eyes, painful migraines, and to lessen your risk for a preventable disease, follow these tips.

Eat Healthy

By eating anti-inflammatory foods and having a diet rich in antioxidants, we preserve proper eye function. Inflammatory foods like red meat can be the basis of a lot of diseases such as macular degeneration (which occurs when excess pressure is placed on the optic nerve.) By introducing healthier fats like omega-3 fatty acids and reducing saturated fat intake, you lower your risk. Omega-3s also help prevent dry eyes.

You can also help prevent macular degeneration by eating more antioxidant-rich foods like leafy green vegetables. By increasing your consumption of heart-healthy veggies, you also reduce the risk of hypertensive retinopathy and the risk of high cholesterol, which means you will have a better blood flow to your eyes.

Exercise

Exercising is important for all body functions. By increasing blood flow and overall health, our eyes will be in better shape too.

Sun Protection

We don't just need sun protection on our bodies - it's also important for long lasting vision. Studies have proven that sun exposure leads to cataracts and macular degeneration. Be sure that your sunglasses offer 100 percent UV protection and have the UV absorbency listed on the sticker. In addition to helping protect from diseases, reducing your eyes' contact with the sun will prevent pterygium, which are small yellow bumps that grow on your eye, thus reducing vision.

Don't Smoke

Smoking leads to poor health overall. Since smoking reduces the size of blood vessels, your eyes form a plaque, depriving themselves of oxygen. Smoking leads to numerous eye diseases.

Reduce Eye Strain

During your annual vision test, have your doctor test your eyes for strain on the computer. I had this simple test done, and found that my eyes were shifting in and out of focus 100 times per second. By getting a slight prescription, my migraines have disappeared. My glasses also have an anti-glare coating to help protect my eyesight.

Make sure your computer screen is about 1.5 to 2 feet away from your eyes. Since this varies from person to person, ask your doctor what the optimal distance is. The screen should be slightly below your eye line.

Lighting

Make sure you have a soft natural light, and that all your rooms are well lit, especially while you are on the computer or reading.

Get Your Exam

Make sure you get a yearly exam, especially if diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration or cataracts runs in your family. As you age, it becomes increasingly important to get your checkups annually.

By Molly Carter