Seeing your eye doctor regularly for eye exams is critical to overall health—especially if you already have vision problems or are at high risk for them. In fact, vision loss can lowering your quality of life and raise your risk of depression, diabetes and other health issues, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Practicing simple daily habits can help you improve your eye health and reduce your risk of future health problems.
Exposing your eyes to ultraviolet rays can cause damage over time. Wearing sunglasses can block harmful UV light, reducing your risk eye diseases such as cataracts, sunburn, eye cancer and growths around the eye, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Polarized lenses with smoke or gray lenses may offer the best protection from the sun’s rays and may reduce glare.
Take screen breaks
Long screen time can cause dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain, blurred vision, headaches and digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome. The American Optometric Association recommends using the 20-20-20 rule to prevent CVS. Every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Take book breaks, too
Screen time isn’t the only way to strain your eyes. When you read a book, you are likely to hold it close for long periods as well. Both activities can lead to nearsightedness, or myopia, which means that things far away are blurry and things nearby are clear. Just as you should use the 20-20-20 rule for taking screen breaks, you should also use this rule for book breaks. If you get caught up in what you’re reading or doing on the computer, set an alarm so you don’t miss your 20-minute break.
Move your body
Regular exercise can provide eye health benefits, such as promoting healthy blood vessels and lowering your risk of developing glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, reports the AAO. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, plus two days of muscle strength training. You can also practice eye exercises to reduce eye strain and strain while sitting at your desk.
Children and adults need to get outside often, even if you get the recommended exercise indoors. Research shows that it is children who spend time outdoors they have a lower risk of developing nearsightedness in adolescence and adulthood. Playing with your kids at the local playground, walking through the woods or even playing in the backyard can help the whole family stay healthy and active. Don’t forget your sunglasses!
It is well known that smoking is bad for your health. It can also increase your risk of developing eye diseases such as cataracts or age-related macular degeneration, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Smokers have a two to three times higher chance of developing cataracts and up to a four times higher risk of AMD. Future research may determine whether cigarette smoking can cause glaucoma, Graves’ eye disease, thyroid eye disease and trigger the onset or progression of diabetic retinopathy. To improve your health, make a retirement plan.
Eat balanced meals
It can be the foods you eat every day improve your eye health. Foods rich in vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc can help cellular growth, lower eye tissue inflammation and limit free radicals that can damage eyes.
To get the right nutrients for your eyes, eat balanced meals that include some of these foods in your normal diet, recommended by the OAO:
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene: Apricots, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, red pepper, ricotta cheese, mango
- Vitamin C: Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, tangerines, peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, red bell pepper
- Vitamin E: Avocados, almonds, peanut butter, wheat germ, sunflower seeds
- Omega-3: Halibut, sardines, salmon, tuna, trout
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Collards, broccoli, eggs, peas, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, turnip greens
- Zinc: Lima beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lean red meat, oysters, whole grains, poultry
Avoid rubbing your eyes
If you rub your eyes normally, it could cause eye damage or infections. Dry eyes and eye strain can make you want to rub your eyes, and some may rub them too hard or too hard. This can lead to issues such as reduced or blurred vision, headaches, inflammation, eye sensitivity and lightheadedness. Another reason to avoid eye rub is that bacteria or viruses on your fingers or hands can lead to conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye. Instead of rubbing your eyes, use eye drops or saliva to clean your eyes and keep them moist. Resist the urge and find something else to keep your hands busy until you kick the habit.
Wash your hands
You should always wash your hands before touching your face or eyes and before handling contact lenses. Almost 45 million Americans wear contact lensesand around 1 in 3 wearers develop complications, and 1 in 5 contact lens infections cause corneal damage.
In addition, there is no telling what kind of germs are on things you touch after someone has unknowingly contaminated them. Wash your hands regularly You can reduce your risk of respiratory illness by up to 21% and diarrheal illness by up to 40%, reports the CDC.
Take off your makeup
After a long day, the last thing you might think about is removing your eye makeup before going to bed. But doing so benefits your eye health as much as possible lower your risk of blepharitis or eyelid inflammation, according to the Optometrists Network.
You should also adopt good makeup practices that can save your skin and eyes, such as using products made for the eyes only, replacing your makeup often (especially after an eye infection), not applying eye makeup to the inner lids and not sharing eye makeup with someone else. If you use brushes or sponges to apply eye makeup, wash them regularly.