8 Things You Can Do Today To Protect Your Eyes (& Save You From Going Blind Later)
Our sight is one of the most important senses we have. It helps us navigate the world on a daily basis. As we age we tend to develop bad habits that damages our eyes, and slowly our sight is affected.
Cataracts, conjunctivitis, and macular degeneration (a disease that causes vision loss) are some of things we can develop in our eyes, which lead to the loss of vision. There are simple things you can do regularly to ensure your eye health stays in good condition.
1. Eat A Healthy And Well-Balanced Diet
Indulging in one too many greasy burgers isn’t just a one way ticket to gaining weight. It also offers no protection against developing an eye disease later in life. Studies have shown that diets rich in antioxidants could reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Make sure to get your daily intake of colourful fruits and veggies – most of them are nutrient dense and are the perfect source of antioxidants. Fill your plate with leafy greens such as spinach and kale, while snacking on citrus fruit. Add plenty of fish to your diet. Fish such as tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and boosts your eye health.
Excessive weight gain puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both of which places you at risk for vision loss later in life. Keep your weight at bay by engaging in regular exercises. This study by researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and Leeds Beckett University, suggests that losing a substantial amount of weight could reverse eye damage caused by high blood pressure and diabetes.
3. Wash Your Hands
You may find yourself rubbing your eyes when you’re tired, or they’re itchy. If your hands are germ-filled you’re at risk of developing conjunctivitis. It’s therefore important to wash your hands as often as possible throughout the day. If you do develop conjunctivitis, wash your hands after putting in eye drops to ensure you don’t spread the disease to others.
4. Wear Protective Eyewear
While you’re plying on sunscreen to protect your skin, make sure you grab a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. Too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays increases your chance of cataracts and macular degeneration. You may be tempted to pick a stylish pair of sunglasses, but those won’t do always offer much protection. Instead pick a pair that blocks 99% of UVA and UVB rays. We may be heading into winter, but UV rays shine through, even on cloudy days. Keep them with you at all times.
For those of you working in environments with hazardous chemicals or airborne materials, always your wear your safety and protective goggles.
5. Take A Break From Your Screen (All of them!)
If your day job requires you to spend all day in front of the computer, remember to give your eyes a break every twenty minutes, and not just during lunch. Prolonged concentration on your screen places more strain on your tired eyes. It doesn’t help that the only time we look away from our screens is too look at the tiny digital screen of our cellphones. Digital devices all emit a blue light which can increase your risk of macular degeneration. Turn down the brightness of your phone’s screen to reduce the amount of blue light you’re exposed to. While you’re at it go for short walks around the office to give your eyes a break from all your screens.
6. Kick Your Smoking Habit or Don’t Start
Turns out smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs. While you’re relieving your stress by taking a drag, you’re adding extra stress on your eyes. Those who smoke are at a higher risk for developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and other eye problems.
7. Get A Good Night’s Rest
You might be tempted to stay up watching youtube videos until 3am, but it’s not doing your eyesight any favours. When you’re tired, you’re more prone to rubbing your eyes, putting your eyes in contact with irritants and diseases. Try to get your full eight hours worth.
8. Regular Eye Checks
Whether you’ve joined the league of four eyed gentlemen or not, you should have a comprehensive eye exam done every two years. The list of tests check your sharpness of vision, how smooth your eye movements are and your depth of vision.
Optometrists also check your risk of developing an eye disease, such as glaucoma, cataracts, cornea ulcers and diabetic retinopathy.
Your optometrist could discuss your family history to determine if you’re at risk for any genetic conditions which might endanger your eye health.
To find an optometrist near you, visit this site which has a comprehensive list of practitioners.