Good vision is vital for just about every activity you choose. You’ll want to keep your vision for many years to come. It may surprise you that one in six adults age 45 and older has some type of eye problem that threatens their sight. There are things you can do to help protect your eyes as you age. Maintaining healthy eyes will give you good vision for years to come.
An important way to help protect your vision is with regular professional eye examinations. You may be at risk for eye problems if you have diabetes or high blood pressure or if there is a family history of eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or poor vision. In between examinations, if you notice a change in your vision or your eye is injured in any way, contact your eye doctor.
Many non-sight related illnesses can be detected during your comprehensive eye exam; diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, sexually transmitted diseases and many forms of cancer are some examples. During your exam, your eye care professional has an unobstructed view of many parts of your eye and may identify any abnormalities that may signal additional problems in other parts of your body. You should have an eye exam at least every two years; problems could develop without any signs or symptoms.
How Important is Nutrition to Eye Health?
Research indicates proper nutrition is critical in helping maintain and preserve eye health for both men and women. As part of a healthy diet, choose foods rich in antioxidants, like vitamins A and C; foods like leafy, green vegetables; and fish. Many foods – especially fatty fish, such as salmon – contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that are important to the health of the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision.
An inadequate intake of antioxidants and consumption of alcohol and saturated fats may create free-radical reactions that can harm the macula. A diet high in fat can also cause deposits that constrict blood flow in the arteries. Many people do not get the recommended amounts of many important eye nutrients through diet alone.
Exercise improves blood circulation, which improves oxygen levels to the eyes and helps remove toxins.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
You’ll feel the difference when you get the sleep you need. You’ll look great, you’ll perform better at home or work—and good rest will help support the health of your eyes. You need at least 7 hours of sleep; sticking to a schedule, avoiding caffeine, and avoiding the use of devices such as cell phones before bedtime are some tips that may help you succeed in getting a good night’s sleep.
Being outdoors in the sun can feel wonderful – but it can be tough on your eyes. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: sunglasses. Be sure to choose a pair that can block harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Also, a hat with a wide brim will reduce the amount of UV radiation slipping around the side of your sunglasses.
Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress. While the connection to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has not been clearly identified, it is known that smoking increases your risk of developing AMD. To help you quit, visit the American Lung Association’s free online smoking cessation program – Freedom From Smoking Online – at www.ffsonline.org.
Devices and Computer Use
You’re probably using digital devices more and more each day at work and home. These devices are exposing your eyes to high energy blue light. Lutein & Zeaxanthin are eye nutrients that are concentrated in the macula and help filter blue light.* Lutein and Zeaxanthin cannot be produced by our bodies on their own, so they must be obtained through diet (green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach) and/or supplements. If you don’t think you’re getting enough in your diet, visit eye doctor to learn more.
Computer images are created from thousands of tiny dots – so there is no distinct image for your eye to focus on. You have to focus and refocus to keep the images sharp. You can help reduce the impact of computer eyestrain by following a few simple rules:
- Keep your computer screen within 20″-24″ of your eyes
- Keep the top of your computer screen slightly below eye level
- Adjust lighting to minimize glare on the screen
- Blink frequently
- Take a break every 20 minutes to focus on a distant object
- Use drops to soothe irritated, dry eyes
If your eye is injured, it may be tempting to think that you can flush it out with some cold water and it will be fine. However, it’s not easy to judge the extent or severity of any eye injury, so you should always get immediate, professional medical attention—it’s the best way to safeguard your vision.
Maintaining healthy eyes is te best way to keep your vision safe as you age!
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