When you wake up in the morning, your surroundings may appear a little blurry. After a few minutes, the blurriness fades and you can see things properly. As you go throughout your day, you notice that you have a harder time reading the writing on boards. Your eyes may even hurt a little bit as you look at your computer screen during the day.
You feel slightly concerned about the change in your vision and the strain you feel, so you schedule an appointment with your optometrist. During your visit, you discover that you need to wear glasses to resolve the problems you’ve experienced.
You worry that your vision will only degrade over time, and you start to wonder what you can do to maintain good eye health. Below, we discuss several tips to help you reach this goal. Read on to see what you can do to prevent your vision from worsening.
1. Visit Your Eye Doctor Often
First and foremost, you should visit your eye doctor every two years and receive eye exams. During these appointments, your optometrist will check your eyes for abnormalities, diseases, and other complications. If he or she notices any issues, you’ll work together to treat the condition.
If you wear corrective lenses, you should visit your eye doctor more often to ensure you can still see properly.
You should also visit your primary healthcare physician regularly to check for high blood pressure and diabetes. If left unchecked, these conditions can cause eye problems such as macular degeneration, eye strokes, and diabetic retinopathy.
2. Eat the Right Foods
Another way to ensure good eye health is to eat the right kinds of foods. Nutrient-rich foods promote healthy eyes and overall health. If possible, you’ll want a diet rich in the following types of nutrients:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
You can find these nutrients in various kinds of foods. But if you want to increase how much of each nutrient you consume, consider eating more of the following:
- Beet greens
- Brown rice
- Collard greens
- Flaxseed oil
Additionally, experts report that drinking two servings of caffeinated beverages each day protect against dry eyes. So if you enjoy savoring a morning cup of tea or coffee, you could improve your eye health.
3. Stop Smoking
According to recent studies, smoking negatively affects your eye health, as well as your overall health. These studies have linked smoking to increased risks for optic nerve damage, macular degeneration, and cataracts. All of these conditions could cause you to go blind.
To maintain better eye health, stop smoking. If you need assistance quitting, look for assistance programs in your community. You can also talk to your eye doctor and ask for suggestions.
4. Wear Contact Lenses Properly
If you wear contact lenses, your risk for poorer eye health increases. Contacts can introduce bacteria and debris into your eyes, and you could develop certain eye conditions. To reduce your risk for developing infections, properly clean and wear your lenses.
Ask your optometrist to teach you how to clean the lenses and care for them. You should also switch out each pair of lenses regularly. Depending on the lens brand and your doctor’s recommendation, you may have to change contacts out every day or every two weeks.
5. Don’t Stare at Electronic Screens
Your job may require you to look at a computer screen all day. And if you use your phone, tablet, or other electronic device regularly, you likely spend a lot of time each day looking at screens. In fact, one study found that people in the US look at electronic screens for an average of 7.4 hours a day.
The more time you spend staring at a screen, the greater your risk for eye strain. To mitigate the effects of screen time, optometrists recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, you should look 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.
You can also download apps and widgets onto your computer or other electronic device to tell you when to take breaks. Some apps cause the screen to flash and tell you to take a break.
6. Wear Sunglasses
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you likely protect your skin by using sunscreen. You should also take the same care to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Exposure to UV rays can increase your risk for developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
You’ll want to invest in sunglasses that block out at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. For additional protection, consider polarized lenses to reduce any glare while you drive.
Your eye health is just as important as your overall health. Don’t take your eyes for granted. Use the tips discussed above to maintain good eye health. If you would like more tips, talk to your optometrist. He or she can provide you with expert advice so you can have healthy eyes.