The best way to avoid future vision loss is to take precautionary measures today. The National Eye Institute (NEI) recommends following these five health guidelines to keep your eyes healthy.
- Get comprehensive, dilated eye exams
Even if you don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, it’s a good idea to receive regular, comprehensive eye exams. Many common eye diseases (for instance, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease) show no early symptoms. By receiving regular eye examinations, physicians can catch these diseases early, making them easier to treat and preserving your vision.
In addition, many people don’t recognize that they need vision correction until they visit an eye doctor. People who believe they have perfect vision might be surprised by how much clearer the world looks with glasses!
- Learn your family history
Since many eye disorders are heredity, it’s important to know your family’s medical history. Don’t only consider the medical history of your siblings and parents – make sure you also know the eye health history of your grandparents, aunts and uncles. Discuss these conditions with your doctor to learn whether you’re at a heightened risk of developing a disease that will affect your vision. If so, you may be able to take preventative measures to reduce this risk.
- Stay healthy
By taking care of your body, you’re also taking care of your eyes.
- According to the NEI, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale as well as foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and tuna can help keep your eyes healthy.
- Regular exercise can also help eye health, since both diabetes and hypertension can significantly elevate the risk of eye disease.
- Don’t smoke! Smoking greatly increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the United States.
- Use protective eyewear
Job-related and sports-related eye injuries are surprisingly common. Thankfully, the vast majority of these injuries can be prevented by wearing proper protective eyewear. The NEI recommends protecting your eyes with safety glasses, goggles, eye guards or safety shields when playing high-risk sports (such as racquetball or baseball) or when working in a dangerous environment.
All protective eyewear should be made of a polycarbonate – NOT regular plastic. Polycarbonate is significantly stronger than other forms of plastic.
- Wear sunglasses
Whenever you go outside – even if it’s cloudy out – it’s a good idea to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are more than a fashion accessory – they also protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) waves. UV exposure increases the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium, a non-tumorous growth that can ultimately block your vision.
For information about how Bonner Eye Clinic can help keep your eyes healthy year round, contact us for a comprehensive, dilated eye exam today.