Your eyes have to last you a lifetime, so taking care of them is incredibly important. Your lifestyle can cause significant strain on your eye health and can have a detrimental effect on your sight, especially as you grow older.
Follow these easy tips to keep your eyes healthy:
1. Eat for better eyesight
We all know the old wives' tale that carrots help you see better in the dark; there is actually some truth to that age-old myth.
Certain nutrients play an important role in assisting our eyes to function at their best.
Leafy green vegetables contain nutrients that can lower your risk for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines all contain high levels of omega-3, an essential fatty acid that promotes eye function.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits all boast high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps the eyes function optimally.
If you aren't regularly consuming these nutrients, consider taking additional vitamin C, omega-3 or a multivitamin.
2. Stamp out that cigarette
Another good reason to stop smoking is to reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Smokers have double to triple the chance of developing these debilitating eye conditions compared to non-smokers.
3. Wear sunglasses even if it isn't that sunny
If you pack your sunglasses away during winter, you're making a big mistake. The glare in cloudy or overcast conditions can be particularly harsh and damaging to your eyes.
Wearing UV-protective sunglasses helps delay the development of cataracts and can protect your retina from damage. They also offer protection to your eyelids not only from wrinkles but also from skin cancer.
Invest in a good pair of glasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
4. Put on protective eyewear
If you work in carpentry, metalwork, construction or other work environments where there may be dangerous particles in the air, it is important to wear protective eyewear to prevent harmful substances from damaging your eyes.
If you’re involved in sports such as cricket, cycling, running and golf that require you to look into the sun at times, be sure to wear UV protective glasses suitable for that specific sport.
Water sports such as fishing, rowing and sailing can be especially taxing on your eyes because sunlight reflects off water.
5. Take a break from your screen
Staring at a computer or tablet screen for hours on end can result in computer vision syndrome, a term for eye strain, dry eyes other conditions associated with computer use.
Aim to use the ‘20-20-20 rule’. Look up from your work every 20 minutes at an object about 6 metres away for 20 seconds.
If you regularly suffer from tired, aching or burning eyes, you may need to visit your optometrist to rule out dry eye, presbyopia, or to be prescribed glasses with protective lenses.
6. Visit the eye doctor
Annual eye tests should form part of your medical assessments. Not only will this help to diagnose and treat eye problems early when they are easier to treat, but if you have any family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure your ophthalmologist will be able to keep track of your risk.
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American Academy of Opthalmology: Four Fantastic Foods to Keep Your Eyes Healthy; May. 03, 2012; http://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/four-fantastic-foods
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention: The New Smoking Story: Going Blind; March 30, 2015; http://www.cdc.gov/features/smoking-eyesight/
American Academy of Opthalmology: Top 10 Tips to Save Your Vision; Sep. 15, 2015; http://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/top-10-tips-to-save-your-vision-2