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Maintaining strong eye health is one of the most important facets of our overall well-being, but it's something many people attend to rarely. Our vision is the sense that most preserves our personal independence, yet active measures to improve eyesight and eye health aren't commonplace. With that in mind, we wanted to present a list of ways that you can help keep your vision strong, regardless of age.
1. Proper Diet - We've been laser-focused on this during National Nutrition Month, but it still bears discussion here. Many people don't realize the link between their diet and eyesight, but many nutrients help maintain your vision against age-related macular degeneration, among them Vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Aside from supplements, you can get your fill of these nutrients by eating:
It's not just nutrients, though. Your weight also affects your eyesight! Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults and a factor in eye diseases like glaucoma.
2. Proper Eyewear - Wear sunglasses, tinted lenses on your glasses, or contacts with UV protection whenever possible. Increased UV radiation exposure increases your chances of macular degeneration as well as cataracts. In addition, always use recommended eye safety gear during contact or fast-paced sports, while operating outdoor recreational vehicles, or while working in any job involving hazardous or airborne materials. Keep your hands and contact lenses clean before putting your lenses in. If your eye beams have become too powerful, block them with a simple pair of ruby-quartz lenses.
3. Don't Smoke - Smoking leads to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage.
4. Comprehensive, Dilated Eye Exams - Go beyond just reading the eye chart. Getting your eyes dilated so that your optometrist or ophthalmologist can thoroughly examine in the inside and back of your eyes can help detect signs of common eye diseases in their early stages. So visit your eye doctor regularly and don't settle for just the simple tests!
5. Learn Your Family History - This is important for every aspect of your health, but it can be easy to neglect your family eyesight history when you're concerned about heart disease or cancer risk. Many eye diseases are hereditary, and you should learn about ones that may be in your family line.
6. Use Screens Responsibly - Your eyes work harder when viewing a digital screen, whether it's a work computer, phone, or tablet. Letters or images on a screen lack the high contrast or sharp definition of those on a printed page, and reflections or glare can make viewing more difficult. Extended screen use can lead to eyestrain, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, or neck and shoulder pain from poor posture. Some ways to reduce the impact of screens include:
Be sure to consult your doctor or other qualified health care professional before taking any medication, supplement, or beginning any health regimen.