1. Go for yearly eye checkups
Even if you think your eyesight is fine or don’t think your vision has changed, only an eye care professional can confirm that. During a yearly eye exam, an eye care professional may put drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. This will allow more light to enter your eye. Then, your eye doctor can see what’s going on in the back of your eyes and examine them for signs of disease and damage.1 Getting a yearly eye exam is important because glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration don’t have any warning signs.2
2. Put on your shades
Wearing sunglasses is the easiest way to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, too much UV exposure increases your chances of cataracts.3 The CDC recommends purchasing sunglasses that block out 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation.4 If you wear glasses, talk to your doctor about getting prescription sunglasses.
3. Quit smoking
Need another reason to quit smoking? According to the National Eye Institute, smoking increases your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Plus, cigarettes can hurt the eye’s optic nerve.5 Did you know all states have quitlines with counselors who are trained specifically to help you quit smoking? Call 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) to talk to someone today.
4. Add some greens to your diet
Keep crunching on those carrots (they’re full of vitamin A that may help your eyes), but don’t forget about the greens. The next time you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market, stock up on spinach, kale, or collard greens. According to Harvard Health Publishing, these dark green, leafy vegetables contain vitamins C and E, which can help protect your eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.6
5. Get moving
A recent study in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science suggested that regular exercise can help ward off macular degeneration. The study illustrated how exercising can boost the eye’s resilience. You don’t have to start training for a marathon to see the benefits: exercising for about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week should do the trick. 7