Eye Health: 11 Tips for Healthy Eyesight

Take Care with Screen Time

Is screen time bad for your eyes? Looking at computer, tablet, TV, and smartphone screens may make your eyes tired and cause eyestrain. Blue light from screens may also damage your eyes. Follow the 20-20-20 rule when logging screen time. This means for every 20 minutes you look at device screen, you should gaze at something that is at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Use good ergonomics when you are on the computer. Make sure that the screen is at eye level or slightly lower. Sit so you are at approximately 25 inches away from the screen. Make sure you have adequate lighting when you are on the computer. Screen filters are available to minimize glare.

Protect your eyes from the sun
You know that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can burn your skin, but did you know they can also damage your eyes? Potential eye health problems resulting from excessive UV exposure from the sun include corneal burns, cataracts, and macular degeneration. You can even develop skin cancer on the eyelids. Always wear sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays when you’re outside, even on cloudy days. Effective sunglasses don’t have to be expensive. Read the label to see the level of protection against UV exposure they offer. Remember that certain things reflect UV rays, such as concrete, sand, snow, and water. You can also rely on wide-brimmed hats and umbrellas to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes.
Protect your eyes at work and at home
Eye injuries are common at home and at work. Every day in the US, approximately 2,000 people injure their eyes at work and require medical treatment. Experts estimate that more than 90% of eye injuries can be prevented if people wear proper eye protection. Wear safety glasses when you are working on projects at work or at home that may send debris into the air and into your eyes. Wear glasses or goggles when playing sports that put your eyes at risk, such as lacrosse, baseball, softball, basketball, and racquet sports. Polycarbonate lenses offer maximum protection because they are more impact resistant than other materials.

Eat foods to improve your eyesight.
nourish your eyes
The same foods that protect the blood vessels of the heart are also good for those of the eyes. Eat plenty of whole foods, including grains, green leafy vegetables, and citrus fruits. Nutrients like zinc, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are especially protective for eyesight. They help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or slow its progression if you already have it. Zinc-rich foods include oysters, poultry, and lean meats. Vegetarian sources of zinc include beans, peanuts, and peas. Beta-carotene is found in bright yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Your body converts to vitamin A which benefits eyesight. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and collard greens. Lower amounts of these nutrients are found in corn, peas, broccoli, romaine lettuce, and eggs. Ask your ophthalmologist if you would benefit from taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement formulated to protect eye health.
Practice good eye care.
take care of your eyes
Do not suffer if you have eye problems. If you suffer from red, itchy eyes, reach for antihistamines or soothing eye drops. Apply cold compresses to the eyes to reduce symptoms. Remove dust or dirt from the eyes by flushing with clean water or saline solution formulated for the eyes. See your ophthalmologist right away if you develop potentially serious problems, such as eye pain, swelling, discharge, or unusual sensitivity to light. If you develop vision problems such as flashing lights, dark floating spots, partial vision loss, blindness, or other vision problems, see your ophthalmologist right away.

Clean your contact lenses to protect your vision.
Practice proper contact lens care
Protect your vision by taking good care of your contact lenses. Wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out contact lenses. Only use lens cleaner and drops recommended by your ophthalmologist or optometrist. Wash and dry your case after each use. Replace the shell at least every 2-3 months. Take out contact lenses before going swimming. Take off your glasses before going to sleep at night. Do not wear lenses for longer than recommended. Follow the lens replacement schedule recommended by your ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions can affect your vision.
Watch out for other health conditions
Health conditions not normally associated with the eyes can affect vision. Diabetes and high blood pressure can cause changes in the blood vessels that decrease blood flow to the eyes. This, in turn, can cause vision to deteriorate. Diabetic retinopathy is a common cause of vision loss. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Graves’ disease can affect the eyes. Other conditions that can affect the eyes include aneurysms, cancer, lung disease, and kidney disease.

Manage Medication Side Effects
Beta blockers, diuretics, antiarrhythmics, statins, antipsychotics, antidepressants, steroids, pain relievers, antihistamines, sleeping pills, and many other medications can affect your vision. Pay attention to how you feel if your doctor prescribes medication. Be aware of any possible side effects and report them to your doctor immediately. Visual distortion and eye symptoms from medications can range from mild to severe. Medication side effects can include dry eyes, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, double vision, puffy eyes, and drooping eyelids.

Discard eye makeup every 3 months to prevent eye infections.
Be careful with eye makeup
Liquid and creamy eye makeup can harbor bacteria. Throw out eye makeup and mascara every 3 months. If you have an eye infection, immediately discard all eye makeup and make an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Don’t share makeup with others and stay away from store samples. If you have allergies, choose hypoallergenic products and be careful when using new products. Try one new product at a time so you can easily monitor for potential allergic reactions. Thoroughly cleanse and dry your skin before applying makeup. Take off your makeup and wash your face before you go to sleep at night.

Regular eye exams can detect eye problems early.
Schedule regular eye exams
If you want good eyesight and healthy eyes, see your ophthalmologist regularly for an eye exam. Even people who don’t wear glasses should have their eyes and vision checked regularly. Most people need an eye exam at least every two years between the ages of 18 and 60. People over the age of 60 and those who wear contact lenses or who have medical conditions that may affect the eyes, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or a personal or family history of eye disease, should have an eye exam annually. Eye exams can detect problems such as farsightedness, presbyopia, astigmatism, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. The doctor may examine your retina, macula, and other parts of your eyes. The doctor will also test your vision during the exam.

Smoking increases the risk of eye diseases.
Give up smoking
Smoking increases the risk of eye diseases, such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), dry eyes, uveitis, and diabetic retinopathy. Smoking contributes to blood vessel damage that can lead to plaque buildup and weakened arteries. This increases the risk of heart attack and damage to the retina. This, in turn, can lead to vision loss. When you quit smoking, your risk of eye disease decreases and is essentially the same as the risk of eye disease for non-smokers. Ask your doctor if you need help quitting.

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