Posted January 4, 2018
Most people don’t think about the value of their eyes until their sight is diminished or permanently impaired. It’s not too late to start taking care of your vision. Consider seven ways to keep your eyes healthy:
- Wear protective glasses – When spending time outdoors, participating in sports or working on projects involving chemicals or debris, wear protective eyewear.
- Sunglasses – The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm your eyes, burning the cornea or causing cancer of the eyelid. Protect your eyes with sunglasses or contacts that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Safety glasses – Use safety glasses made of polycarbonate impact-resistant plastic to avoid eye injuries, which occur more frequently at home than at work. Doctors also encourage anyone engaged in sports activities to wear protective eyewear.
- Watch for eye problems – Tenderness, swelling, sensitivity to light or redness are common signs of minor eye problems. Applying cold or warm compresses and using over-the-counter eye drops can provide relief. If symptoms persist, contact your eye doctor.
- See the eye doctor – Schedule regular eye exams as directed by your doctor to monitor vision and health changes. These exams especially are important for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or have a family history of eye problems.
- Blink and take breaks – Most people watch screens several hours daily on their computer, phone or tablet. Researchers report that people blink nearly 50 percent less while using these devices.
- Practice the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes look at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
- Reduce glare from lights, which can cause eyestrain. Try a screen filter or repositioning your screen.
- View screens about 25 inches away from your face (about an arm’s length) and slightly below eye level.
- Eat nutritious foods – Select foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, which can improve vision and protect your eyes.
- Keep eyes clean – If wearing contacts, remember to wash your hands before inserting or removing your lenses. Each day clean and dry the storage case, and use only approved chemical products to rinse and disinfect your lenses. Avoid eye contamination by tossing eye makeup that is older than three months. If you develop an eye infection, contact your eye doctor and immediately.
- Stop smoking – People who smoke are more likely to develop dry eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration, or optic nerve damage. Smoking also may increase the risk for developing plaque in the arteries which contribute to heart attack and damages the retina.