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Basic Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

Taking personal responsibility for our overall health is one of the most important ways to insure our quality of life remains high as we age.  This article offers information that will help you learn what you can do to help one specific part of your body remain healthy and high functioning as you age…..your eyes.

The National Eye Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health) provides the following steps you can take toward the maintenance of eye health over your lifetime.Dilated Eye Exam

  • Visit an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist on a regular basis for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.  This type of exam allows for the examination of the deep structures of the eye that can pin point the early signs of eye diseases like glaucoma, changes to the eye structure caused by diabetes, and macular degeneration.
  • Have your visual acuity checked to determine if you would be able to see better with glasses or contact lenses.  Further examination can be done if you are interested in finding out if you are a good candidate for Lasic surgery.
  • Check into your family eye health history.  Some eye diseases have a strong hereditary link which may increase your likelihood of developing the same disease.
  • Protect you eyes from injury when working in dusty conditions or when doing tasks that can cause eye injury such as welding, grinding metal, woodworking or contact sports.  Wear sunglasses when outdoors in sunny conditions to reduce exposure to ultraviolet rays that can harm your eyes over time. The best sunglasses will block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • Keep your weight under control.  Overweight and obese people have a higher risk of developing diabetes and other diseases that can lead to vision loss.
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetable.  Dark green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, kale and spinach contain compounds that are especially beneficial to eye health.  Recent research also has shown that omega-3 fatty acids from fish like tuna, salmon and halibut also benefit eye health.
  • Stop smoking.  Smoking has been linked to the development of macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage which can result in blindness.
  • Let your eyes rest.  Since the advent of computers, and smartphones eyestrain is much more common.  You can reduce the discomfort of eyestrain by using the 20-20-20 rule…..every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.  This allows the muscles that control eye movement to readjust and reduces chronic eye fatigue.
  • If you wear contact lenses be sure and wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your lenses.  Follow the disinfecting instructions and replace the lenses at the recommended interval.  Recent studies also show that taking your contact lenses out before you go to sleep reduces problems related to eye infections and chronic irritation.

Proper Nutrients for Healthier Eyes

eye nutrition

Nutritional experts pretty much agree that the best place to get nutrients is from the food we eat.  The compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, and the vitamins C and E are strong antioxidants that provide protection for the eyes as well as other body systems.  They can be found in in green leafy vegetables and many fruits as mentioned before.  Seeds, nuts, and wheat germ also contain compounds that aid in eye health.

However, it’s not as easy to get these nutrients in our food now.  Many people’s diets consist of large amounts of processed foods and very little if any of the fresh vegetables and fruits that contain the nutritional elements required to maintain good eye health.

Nutritional supplements are now available that contain specific vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, in adequate amounts, that have been show to support eye health over time.  A combination of a healthy diet and nutritional supplementation may be the best way to insure we are getting the best level of nutritional support for optimal eye health.

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Published inNutrition

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