Considering how important our eyeballs are to everyday life, you’d think we’d know more about how to take care of them. When someone has high blood pressure or high cholesterol, the whole world recommends diet and exercise. When Karen from Accounting gets floaters in her eyes, 11/10 women on Facebook are recommending essential oils and blaming it on the evils of gluten. What kind of madness is this? Improving eye health can be as simple as eating a balanced diet and scheduling regular eye check-ups, so be sure to do your research (if you’re lazy, you can start by reading this article). Seeing-eye dogs are cute, but why not take care of your eyes and get a regular dog whose only skill is eating socks and judging your eyewear choices? Here are 10 easy ways to improve your eye health that aren’t even hard(seriously, Karen, it’s just common sense).
>According to the CDC, an estimated 61 million adults in the United States are at high risk for vision loss and only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. Many eye doctors recommend having a regular check-up every two years, which makes sense if you want to detect eye problems early, avoid walking into walls and actually get some eye care tips from a professional(don’t worry, we’re sure Janet from Facebook means well).
This sounds like the worst, but hear me out. As children, we were told that eating carrots would help improve our vision, but that’s not the only food that your eyes will thank you for. Think of it this way: if it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your eyes. Avoid saturated fats and high levels of salt, eat foods that are high in vitamin A and don’t shy away from leafy green vegetables, beans, fruits, fish and orange-colored fruits and vegetables (feel free to choose a cantaloupe over a carrot). Oh, you want an occasional slice of pizza? Don’t worry, we won’t tell.
Blue light, which we constantly receive from devices and screens of any kind, is known to suppress melatonin (the sleep hormone) and, according to researchers at the University of Toledo, sets off toxicity in the eye that kills off the photoreceptor cells in the retina. Um, NOPE.Invest in some blue light anti-reflective coated lenses so you can get a good night’s sleep and look at memes all day without fear of damaging your eyes.
There are quite a few chronic health conditions out there that can negatively affect your eyesight (diabetes, for example), so be sure to listen to your doctor and take good care of yourself via medicine and healthy habits. Saying that, don’t hit up Google for a self-diagnosis on why your eyes are bothering you (spoiler alert: you died yesterday).
As you can probably tell from the rack of shades at Walmart, not all sunglasses are created equal (particularly in the world of eye health). Those $10 aviators might look pretty sweet on your face and on your budget, but they’re totally useless if they don’t provide actual protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays. According to the American Optometric Association, 47 percent of consumers don’t bother checking the UV protection level before buying sunglasses. Not sure what to look for? Find shades that block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t smoke that have nothing to do with eye health but don’t underestimate the negative impact smoking has on your peepers. Studies show that smoking can cause dry eye, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), optic nerve problems, glaucoma, and more. Not only that but smoking while pregnant can harm your baby’s eyes significantly.
The battle of the bulge is real, but that’s not the only reason you should be hitting the gym! Physical exercise has several positive effects on eye health, including reducing the risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. You might feellike you’re going to die on the treadmill, but a good amount of cardio lowers the pressure in your eyes and keeps the retinal ganglion cells protected (that’s fancy optometrist speak for “it’s good for you”).
Obviously you can’t foresee every poke in the eye, but taking steps to avoid cuts, bruises, or burns to the eye is pretty important and should go without saying. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that about 2,000 workers in the United States sustain job-related eye injuries every day, so be sure to protect yourself against projectiles, chemicals, radiation, pathogens, and that baby with the tiny hands.
Have you experienced eye infections or allergic reactions in the past? Avoid pink eye (viral conjunctivitis) by washing your hands thoroughly and by not sharing towels or eye makeup. If you wear contact lenses, keep them clean by using fresh solution every night and remember to always take them out before you go to sleep. In other words, don’t be nasty. Ask your eye care provider about daily disposable contact lenses, which are the healthiest way to wear contacts.
Insomnia is the worst, but did you know that a lack of sleep also has a negative effect on your eye health? Some studies have shown that the eye needs at least five hours of sleep to properly replenish (sorry, parents of newborns), but what does that even mean?! Nothing tragic, but lack of sleep can cause annoying eye spasms, eye strain, and dry eye.
Is it time for you to get your eyes checked? Book an eye appointment online with Tradewinds Eye Care today.