Tips to Protect Your Eyes
1. Regular checkups
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an eye exam before the age of 5 to check for childhood problems like amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (misaligned eyes), then on an as needed basis up to 19 years of age. One exam in your 20s and two in your thirties can identify problems which may benefit from early diagnosis. While it is normal for vision to change, serious problems like glaucoma and macular degeneration can be treated if detected early. After the age of 40, eye exams are recommended every two to four years and after 65 every one to two years.
2. SPF for your eyes
Sunglasses don’t just prevent crow’s feet from squinting; they also block harmful UV rays that can play a role in the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Fair-skinned Caucasians are at the greatest risk for the latter. Be sure your sunglasses have 100% UV protection.
3. Eye protection
Sunglasses aren’t the only protective eyewear you should wear. Always be sure to wear safety glasses when there is potential for flying particles, large or small, to come into contact with your eye.
4. Contact care
Be sure to care for your contact lenses properly. Wearing contacts when your eyes are irritated can turn a simple irritation into a significant problem e.g., corneal ulcer.
Vitamin A, commonly found in our foods, is vital to the retina. Studies have shown that green, leafy vegetables containing lutein can reverse symptoms of macular degeneration. Also, Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flax can prevent dry eyes.
6. Prevent dry eyes
As we age we experience dry eye symptoms more often. Dry eye typically occurs when the tear film does not have the proper consistency of water, mucus and oil. If the eye does not have sufficient lubrication as you blink, the tear film evaporates and eyes feel dry. This can be magnified near heating and air conditioning. Once again, Omega-3 can diminish dry eye symptoms.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking increases the risk and accelerates the progression of cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage.
8. Eye strain
Any work requiring an increased focus e.g., computer work, reading, etc. means you do not blink as frequently. Take a break from prolonged staring and use artificial tears to lubricate the eyes.
9. Family history
Eye problems are often hereditary. Know your family history as early detection can lead to early prevention.
10. Stay healthy
Proper diet and regular exercise contribute to healthy eyes.