The importance of our eyesight is often underestimated until we face challenges in seeing the world around us. However, it’s never too late to begin a regimen of eye care. Here are seven effective strategies to keep your eyes healthy:
1. Wear protective glasses – Consider eyewear when spending time outdoors, participating in sports, or working on projects involving chemicals or debris.
- Sunglasses – The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm your vision, cause cataracts, burn the cornea or cause eyelid cancer. Protect your eyes with sunglasses or contacts that block 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Safety glasses – Use safety glasses made of polycarbonate impact-resistant plastic to avoid eye injuries, which occur more frequently at home than at work. Doctors also encourage anyone engaged in sports activities to wear protective eyewear.
2. Watch for eye problems – Tenderness, swelling, sensitivity to light or redness are common signs of minor eye problems. Applying cold or warm compresses and using over-the-counter eye drops can provide relief. If symptoms persist, contact your eye doctor.
3. Visit your eye doctor – Schedule regular eye exams as directed by your doctor to monitor vision and health changes. These exams are especially important for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of eye problems.
4. Blink and take breaks – Most people watch screens for several hours daily on their computer, phone or tablet. Researchers report that people blink nearly 50% less while using these devices.
- Practice the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
- Reduce the glare – Lights can cause eyestrain. Try a screen filter or repositioning your screen.
- Keep a distance – View screens about 25 inches away from your face (about arm’s length) and slightly below eye level.
5. Eat nutritious foods – Select foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, which can improve vision and protect your eyes.
6. Keep your eyes clean – If wearing contacts, remember to wash your hands before inserting or removing your lenses. Clean and dry the storage case daily and use only approved chemica products to rinse and disinfect your lenses. Avoid eye contamination by tossing eye makeup that is older than three months. If you develop an eye infection, contact your eye doctor immediately.
7. Stop smoking – People who smoke are more likely to develop dry eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration, or optic nerve damage. Smoking also may increase the risk for developing plaque in the arteries, which contributes to heart attack and damages the retina.