You depend on your vision for everything you do, so it makes sense to do all you can to protect your vision and your eye health. In this post, Rodrigo Belalcazar, MD, of Advanced Eye Center in Hialeah, Florida, explains eight simple things you can do to maintain optimal eyesight and visual health.
1. Stay hydrated
Your eyes depend on a steady flow of high-quality tears to wash away irritants and maintain eye health. In fact, one study found that not drinking enough fluids could influence a number of serious eye problems, including chronic dry eye syndrome, cataracts, retinal diseases, and even changes in vision clarity. Drinking plenty of water helps to replenish tears regularly.
2. Eat plenty of eye-healthy foods
Pretty much everyone knows that carrots are good for eye health, but there are plenty of other foods that can keep your eyes healthy, too. Dark green leafy vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for healthy retinas. Salmon and other oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are also important for retinal health.
Foods rich in vitamin C may help prevent cataracts, while eggs, whole grains, and nuts offer lots of zinc to help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD). “Eat the rainbow” is good advice for an eye-healthy diet, and limiting sugars and unhealthy fats is important, too.
3. Stay active
Exercise offers plenty of benefits for your overall health and wellness, so it’s no surprise that it can benefit your vision, too. Data show that regular exercise can help ward off glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, either by directly affecting eye health or by improving risk factors associated with these diseases.
4. Protect your eyes from sunburn
Sure, everyone knows that skin can get sunburned, but did you know your eyes can get sunburned, too? Photokeratitis is a temporary condition caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
Just like a “regular” sunburn, photokeratitis irritates your corneas, causing pain and redness. Wearing sunglasses that provide ample UV protection can protect your eyes from sunburn and reduce the risk for other eye problems, too.
5. Use the 20-20-20 rule
Staring for hours on end at a computer screen, tablet, or phone can quickly lead to dry eyes and eye strain. A simple trick is to use the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of looking at a screen, take a 20-second break and stare at something 20 feet away.
6. Throw away old makeup
Mascara wands are repositories of bacteria that occur naturally on your eyelashes. Over time, bacteria can multiply, and before you know it, you’re risking an eye infection with every swipe of the wand. To decrease that risk, replace mascara every 4-6 months.
7. Tired, dry, or itchy eyes? Grab a compress
Cool and warm compresses can help relieve many eye symptoms, such as grittiness, burning, and redness. Cool compresses can help decrease puffiness around your eyes, while a warm compress can relax tense muscles and help prevent oil gland infections. Both warm and cool compresses are also effective in soothing tired, overworked eyes.
8. Quit smoking
Did you know that, if you smoke, you’re twice as likely to develop AMD and as much as three times as likely to develop cataracts, according to the CDC? Smoking affects your eyes in other ways, too. The best way to avoid all these problems is to kick the habit. This website offers resources that can help.
Here’s one more tip: Make comprehensive eye exams part of your regular health routine. Eye exams can help your provider spot eye and vision problems early, so these issues can be treated before serious problems develop.
To schedule your eye exam, call 305-707-6011 or book an appointment online with Advanced Eye Center today.