Around the world, more than 20 million people suffer from vision loss due to eye disease. These diseases range from macular degeneration and glaucoma to cataracts after age 40. Did you know that many eye diseases develop from unhealthy habits that cause harm to your body? If you’re wondering how to improve your eye health, here are 11 tips for protecting your vision.
1 Watch for warning signs
Regular exams every 1-2 to years are a great way to remain up to date on your eyesight. If you notice any changes in your vision, you should immediately schedule an appointment to see your eye doctor. A few possible symptoms of waning eye health include hazy vision, red eyes, swelling, eye pain, seeing flashes of light, double vision, and difficulty seeing.
2 Avoid harmful UV light
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you should own a pair of sunglasses designed to protect your eyes from the damaging ultraviolet rays that emanate from the sun. Otherwise, you leave yourself vulnerable to developing pinguecula and other eye related diseases.
3 Eat healthy
Did you know that your eating habits can affect your vision over time? Research has proven that antioxidants may have the ability to reduce the risk of contracting cataracts. Antioxidants are found in fruits and dark green vegetables. A simple change in your regular diet can be the difference between healthy eyes and loss of vision.
4 Stop smoking
Smoking cigarettes is one of the most destructive things you can do to your body. What you may not know is that smoking can affect your eye health as well. It causes damage to your optic nerves and while smoking may be addictive, is it worth going blind? For the sake of your health, seek help from a medical professional.
5 Rest your eyes
If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time staring at a screen. Doing this too much subjects your eyes to harmful straining. To avoid harmful strain, look away from your screen every 20 minutes. Stare at a faraway object. If you’re experiencing continued eye fatigue, it can be a sign of a much more severe issue. You could have symptoms of presbyopia or dry eye. If you’re experiencing eye fatigue, it’s recommended that you seek a medical professional to diagnose the cause of your issues.
6 Wear your glasses and/or contact lenses
Always wear your glasses if prescribed for reading, driving or any specific activity. Without your glasses, the constant squinting will cause you to strain your eyes. If you’ve been prescribed contact lenses, follow the instructions from your doctor. Abuse of your contacts can cause multiple issues. Types of abuse are sleeping with your contacts in (if not approved for overnight wear), utilizing an expired solution, using water or saliva to wet your contacts, and wearing contacts that have expired. Contact abuse can lead to eye pain, vision loss, and corneal ulcers.
7 Wear eye protection
Did you know that more than 2.5 million eye injuries are estimated to occur every year? Many of these injuries happen during sporting events like baseball, basketball, and hockey. Common activities where eye injuries can occur are during home repairs, cleaning, and gardening. Wearing some form of eye protection could save you from getting a major headache and severe eye pain.
8 Have regular eye exams
Did you know that at age 40, you may experience the early signs of eye related diseases and changes in vision? After receiving a baseline eye exam, an ophthalmologist will inform you on how often you should return for routine eye examinations. Those who have a family history of eye related diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes, should get their eyes examined on a regular basis.
9 Learn your family history
Do you know your family history? How many individuals in your family deal with eye diseases? Eye diseases tend to be hereditary. This means that if someone in your family deals with a preexisting eye condition, you’re more susceptible to developing that same disease in the future.
10 Research your eye care providers
Do you know the difference between an optician, ophthalmologist, and an optometrist? Just in case you don’t here are a few definitions:
- Optician – a person qualified to make and supply eyeglasses lenses, frames and contact lenses.
- Ophthalmologist – diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery and prescribes and fits eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.
- Optometry – the practice or profession of performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.
Each provider has a role to play when it comes to your eye care. When scheduling an appointment, keep in mind that each specialist has a different level of experience and training. For example, Ophthalmologists are trained in every area of eye care while an optician’s primary objective is to prescribe the correct prescription lenses for eye glasses.
11 Exercise regularly!
Regular physical activity and exercise will help you avoid life-threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Did you know these conditions can cause several eye diseases?
Eye diseases around the world are a constant reminder that your eye health should be one of your top priorities. By taking matters into your own hands, you can make the necessary changes to protect your vision. Your actions can slow down the deterioration of your eye health, giving you many more years of clear sight. If you haven’t done so already, schedule an appointment to have your eyes examined as soon as possible.
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