Your eyes work non-stop for you during your entire waking day. Even during “leisure” activities such as reading, using the computer, catching up on email, videos/TV, hobbies, and sports, your eyes are still 100% on-the-job.
Here are 12 simple things you can do to care for your eyes and keep them working at their best:
Know your family’s eye health history. Alert your eye doctor of eye conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration that may run in the family.
Eat right to protect your sight: A good diet supports good eye health: Superfoods for your eyes include blueberries, apricots, carrots, green vegetables, flax seed, nuts, whole grains, beans, and omega-3 oils found in fish.
Go for color at the market and on your dinner plate: fresh fruits and vegetables are always good choices. Deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher amounts of lycopenes, flavonoids and polyphenols: nutrients that are beneficial for maintaining optimum eye health.
Wear protective eyewear: on the job, for projects around the house involving chemicals, when using power equipment, and for sports. Preventing injuries of all types is good practice, but is particularly crucial when it comes to your delicate eyes.
Keep your eyes hydrated. Listen to your eyes and use artificial tears if your eyes are asking for moisture. People on some medications, with certain medical conditions, or who use oxygen may be prone to dry eyes. People who have dry eyes may experience a variety of symptoms including irritation, burning, sharp discomfort, dull pressure, fatigue, gritty sensation, or even excessive tearing. The best strategy is to use your moisture drops before your eyes feel fatigued and irritated: this prevents breakdown of the delicate tear film on the eye’s surface.
Maintain a healthy weight: yes, it’s good for optimum eye health too.
Stay healthy. Work with your primary care physician for optimal control of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and to maximize cardio-vascular health.
Move! Even 10 minutes of moderate activity a day will help your circulation and health. Movement helps circulation, and good circulation is essential for good eye health. A walk in the neighborhood, taking a class, or exercising in a chair can all be beneficial. Finding an “exercise buddy” can make your activity more enjoyable. Check with your general doctor and observe any recommended activity restrictions.
Quit smoking; never start. Tobacco use increases the risk of cataract, macular degeneration, and compromises circulation in the retina. Smoke is also an irritant to the eyes.
Be cool and wear your shades: choose full UV-A and UV-B filter protection in your sunglasses. Your optician will help select the best lens to protect from harmful sunlight rays.
Clean/Wash you hands properly. Good hand hygiene reduces transmitting possible infections to your eyes. If you wear contact lenses, follow proper cleaning, sterilization, and replacement instructions.
Give your eyes a rest: follow the 20/20/20 rule: When computing or performing other visually intensive tasks, take a break every 20 minutes and close your eyes or focus in the distance at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
Regular eye check-ups. The National Eye Institute (NEI) recommends regular dilated comprehensive eye examinations to ensure maximum eye health and early treatment if needed.