Tips for Maintaining Eye Health
Eye health is something that many people take for granted, but the reality is that as we age, our bodies begin to break down and our vision is naturally compromised. Luckily, there are a number of habits we can easily adopt to delay age-associated vision changes and keep our eyes healthy.
Here are our 8 tips for maintaining eye health:
Take a Break
These days it’s not uncommon for people to spend 10 hours or more staring at a screen. Computers, tablets, cell phones, TVs… these digital devices take their toll on the eyes and can cause vision issues like computer vision syndrome. Don’t overdo it. Take routine breaks throughout the day to give your eyes a rest. While at work, spend 20 seconds every half hour or so staring into the distance to help minimize eye strain.
Check out our tips for avoiding computer vision syndrome.
Caffeine... in Moderation
A couple of cups of coffee a day can actually aid eye health. Well, not coffee per say, but the caffeine it’s loaded with. Research has shown that caffeine actually helps to increase the production of tears, a component essential to good eye health. (Maintaining good tear production helps prevent dry eye, one of the most common eye health problems.) But keep in mind that all things in moderation. Too much caffeine can cause irritability, stomach problems, muscle tremors and more.
Skin cancer has taught us to be diligent when it comes to applying sunscreen, but you might not be aware what harm the sun’s UV rays are causing your eyes. Cataracts and macular degeneration are merely two of the eye health consequences that can result from years of harmful UV rays taking a toll on the eyes. Always have a pair of sunglasses at the ready when you’re outdoors to help protect your eyes; even on cloudy days.
Eating carrots might be something of a vision myth, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other dietary choices that can benefit eye health. Lutein-rich foods like dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, etc.) and dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.) help protect against macular degeneration, a chronic eye disease that is the leading cause of vision loss for people aged 60 and older. Omega-3-rich foods (wild rice, walnuts, canola oil, fresh cold-water fish, etc.) also aid eye health by helping to reduce inflammation affecting the blood vessels of the eye.
An active lifestyle that includes regular exercise is good for eye health as well as overall health. You can help to protect yourself against a host of health problems like macular degeneration and diabetes by staying active.
Say "No" to Smoking
According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for roughly 480,000 deaths per year. The respiratory and heart-related perils of smoking are well known, but you may not be aware of the many vision problems smoking can also cause. Cataracts, macular degeneration and blindness are all linked to smoking.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps keep you hydrated and your body functioning at peak performance levels. If you become dehydrated, it may reduce your tear production which can lead to dry eye.
Regular Eye Exams
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, be sure to get regular eye exams to help better manage your eye health. Don’t wait until a problem becomes serious before you get your eyes checked. As it is with all health management, prevention is key. A complete eye exam should be performed every one to three years to help avoid vision problems.