Posted January 29, 2020
Looking people directly in the eye is a powerful way to make a positive first impression. If you want to enjoy a lifetime of healthy vision, take steps to protect your eyes. Review these 11 eye care tips.
- Schedule regular eye exams – Visit your eye doctor yearly to have your vision checked. During the exam, the eye doctor will look for signs of disease. This includes medical conditions that could affect your overall health. Make sure to let your doctor know if you’ve noticed any changes in your vision. Learn more about common eye issues and diseases.
- Get plenty of rest – Sleep is important for good vision. Get at least seven hours of sleep each night, so your eyes can recover for the next day. And don’t forget to rest your eyes when reading, gaming or working on the computer. Every 20 minutes look at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. If your eyes feel tired, place a cool cloth over your closed eyes and relax for a few minutes.
- Eat nutritious foods – Spinach, kale, broccoli, bell peppers, sweet potatoes and dark, leafy vegetables should be part of your daily diet. They help slow the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Other foods important for healthy eyes are berries, citrus, eggs, almonds, chia seeds, tuna, salmon and trout.
- Exercise regularly – Maintain a healthy weight to lessen the risk of developing diabetes (or other medical problems). The first signs of diabetes often show up during an eye exam. So at least five times a week, power walk or jog for 30 minutes. Or, exercise more intensely three times a week by swimming laps or attending a fitness class. However, if you haven’t exercised in a while, be careful and start out slow.
- Follow care instructions for contacts – About 45 million Americans wear contact lenses. Clean and store lenses in a sterile solution made for contacts. Don’t use a homemade saline solution, because it could cause an eye infection.
In addition, don’t wear contacts while sleeping, even if the manufacturer says it’s safe. Wearing contact lenses at night can restrict oxygen flow to the cornea. Your body uses oxygen to cleanse your eyes while you sleep. This helps reduce the risk of infection.
- Use medically approved color contact lenses – Decorative contact lenses are popular, especially during the holidays. Many people purchase decorative lenses online or at a retail store. However, these lenses are not medically safe and may not fit your eyes. Plus they can damage your eyes and cause vision loss. Contact your eye doctor to purchase decorative lenses designed to fit your eyes.
- Protect your eyelids – Never put anything sharp near your eyes or eyelids. If you have bumps on your eyelids, apply a warm compress. Then gently massage the eyelid periodically throughout the day. If the problem persists for more than a few days, contact your eye doctor.
- Tattoo your skin, not your eyes – As a fashion statement, some people tattoo the whites of their eyes. The practice, called sclera staining, uses a needle to inject ink into the eye. According to eye doctors, the body naturally rejects the color, so it doesn’t stay anyway. And you could get a nasty infection.
- Protect your eyes – Wear sunglasses with UV protection when outdoors. Wear safety glasses when working near machinery or during sports. Over 2.5 million eye injuries are reported each year. At least 90% can be prevented with the use of safety or sports glasses. Choose a certified safety frame that wraps around and covers the sides of your eyes.
- Discard old eye makeup – Did you know that bacteria can live on your old makeup? That’s why it’s important to buy fresh eye makeup every four to six months. Also, sharing makeup can spread germs, so avoid it for the health of your eyes.
- Seek medical attention for a cyst or stye – If you develop a cyst or stye on your eyelid, don’t try to pop it. Instead, apply a warm compress at least two to three times a day. Leave it on for a few minutes each time. If the bump doesn’t heal, contact your eye doctor.