10 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Vision
As one of your most important senses, your vision is something you shouldn’t take for granted. Here are some helpful tips for maintaining healthy vision.
1. Wear protective eyewear when applicable. Safety glasses/goggles protect your eyes while you’re engaged in work or activities that pose a risk of injury, such as wood or metal work and sports like basketball.
2. Keep your shades handy. UV rays from the sun contribute to the development of eye conditions like cataracts, retinal disease and macular degeneration. Protect your eyes by keeping a pair of sunglasses on hand and wearing them in sunny weather.
3. Maintain your general health. Research has consistently shown a connection between general and ocular health. Not only does proper nutrition support healthy vision, but vision problems can develop from seemingly unrelated health issues. For instance, diabetes is one of the main causes of blindness in the United States, and high blood pressure and cholesterol can contribute to permanent vision problems.
4. Supplement vital nutrients. Since your risk of developing vision problems increases with age, it’s a good idea to increase your intake of vitamins and nutrients that support healthy vision. For example, research has found that people with macular degeneration may benefit from antioxidant vitamins such as A, C, E and zinc.
5. Treat dry eyes. This condition can be instigated by aging, sleep deprivation and numerous other causes. In addition to applying eye drops throughout the day, taking omega-3 supplements can help alleviate dry eyes.
6. Be conscientious about wearing contact lenses. If you wear contacts, closely follow the instructions given to you by your eye care professional (prescription particulars, wearing schedule, care regimen, etc.). Additionally, make sure you get fitted for contact lenses by a vision care professional. If improperly fitted, lenses may not properly conform to the shape of the eye, which can result in discomfort.
7. Give your eyes a break. Spending long hours in front of a computer screen commonly leads to eye fatigue. Besides wearing computer glasses (which filter out the UV light emitted by device screens), adhere to the “20-20-20” rule: Every 20 minutes, look away and focus on an object at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.
8. Pay attention to new developments. If you notice peripheral flashes of light or new eye floaters (gray or black squiggly lines in your field of vision), see an eye care professional immediately. While it may be nothing to worry about, in some cases it may be a precursor to retinal detachment. If caught early, this issue can be dealt with, but if you put it off, it can lead to permanent vision damage.
9. Care for your child’s eyes. If you have children, make their vision care a priority. Dr. Thomas Aller advises bringing children for their first eye exams by the age of four. Furthermore, make sure your child gets plenty of outdoor activity, which researchers have found may help delay the onset of nearsightedness.
10. Get regular eye exams. Since eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration have few noticeable symptoms, it’s easy for them to progress undetected over time. Regular eye exams allow your vision care professional to catch these types of diseases in their early stages and prevent them from getting worse.