Taking better care of your eyes can help with your total health. When you take steps to take care of your eyes, you have a great chance of seeing and living well for many years.
The National Eye Institute offers these simple tips to help you keep your eyes healthy and happy.
Get regular eye checkups
Seeing an eye doctor once a year is maybe the most important thing you can do for your eyes. It can also help your general health. These visits can let you know about eye problems you may have and help you fix them with glasses or contact lenses. Your eye doctor will also look for signs of eye disease, such as glaucoma, which you may not know you have. Glaucoma is an eye disease in which your eyes are under pressure. Finding eye problems early enough can help prevent more problems. It can even stop you from going blind. ¹
Know your family's eye health history
Knowing if someone in your family has had eye disease of any kind can help your doctor know what to look for.²
Eating fruits and vegetables is good for your body and your eyes. A study found that eating fruits and dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale or collard greens can help keep your eyes healthy. Fish – such as salmon, tuna and halibut – is also good for your eyes.
Manage your weight
Being overweight puts you at higher risk of getting diabetes. People with diabetes have a higher risk of having serious eye problems. If you need help losing weight, talk to your doctor.
Wear safety glasses
Eye problems aren't just caused by disease. About 2,000 U.S. workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment each day, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And according to Prevent Blindness America®, accidents involving common household products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year. Wearing something to protect your eyes when you play sports or work with tools or chemicals can help you stay safe.
Quit smoking, or don't start
Smoking is bad for your health and your eyes. A report from the Surgeon General of the United States found that smoking can lead to eye disease.
Rays from the sun can damage your eyes and lead to blindness. Always wear sunglasses when outside. Sunglasses aren't just for summer. Wear them in the winter to block the glare from ice and snow. When choosing sunglasses, find a pair that blocks 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
Give your eyes a rest
When working at a computer for long periods of time, you should take breaks to reduce strain on your eyes. The National Eye Institute says to follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. ³
Keep your contacts and your hands clean
If you wear contact lenses, make sure you wash your hands before putting them in or taking them out. Also, be sure to clean your contacts as directed. Replace them as often as your doctor says. Following these simple steps can help protect your eyes from infections.
Help protect the eyes of children
It’s very important for children to have regular eye checkups, too. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), babies should have their first full eye checkup at 6 months old. Children should then have another eye exam at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade, at about age 5 or 6. 4
If you take care of your eyes now, you will have a great chance of having healthy eyes for life!
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