Your eyes play an important role in how you perceive the world and allow you to capture the beauty in the people and things around you. Therefore, it is important to take care of your eyes so that they can continue to provide you with the wonderful sensory experience most of us enjoy everyday. So in order to keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp, here are a few tips to implement into your routine.
As we get older, we tend to experience dry eyes more often. This is commonly caused when the tear film doesn’t have the correct consistency of water, mucus and oil. If there is not enough oil after tears are produced the water may evaporate causing eyes to feel dry and irritated. This is why it is so important to keep hydrated internally by drinking lots of water and having a sufficient amount of Omega-3’s in your diet. Also, the heat and air-conditioning in your car or home play a large role in keeping your eyes properly lubricated. Make sure that the vents are not blowing directly in your face and purchase a small humidifier for your home to keep moisture in the air during cold, dry, winters. Artificial teardrops, available over the counter and by prescription, are also an option in keeping eyes moisturized, especially on the go.
Though you may feel your vision is perfect and your eyes are as healthy as can be, visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive eye exam is really the only way to prove that true. You may not even realize that a change in prescription, or wearing glasses/contacts in general, could change the way you see dramatically. Also, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration have no apparent symptoms and the only way for them to be detected is through a comprehensive exam. Catching these in their early stages could mean the difference between healthy long term vision and permanent damage. Don’t wait until something seems wrong to visit an eye care professional and once you do make the appointment make sure to follow up every 6 months to a year depending on your eye care needs which can be determined by your doctor.
Aside from investing in a good pair of sunglasses that provide optimum UVA and UVB protection (and polarized if possible) there are many ways to keep your eyes safe. When working with small particles, chemicals, or fumes make sure to wear the correct protective glasses necessary and try not to wear your contacts while doing so as they can hold onto bacteria and/or chemical residue. Of course protecting your eyes from being strained is important as well especially since daily computer use for long periods of time is a common occurrence. Make sure you are at least an arms length away from the computer monitor and that you’re giving your eyes regular breaks by blinking often and looking away from the screen for at least 20 to 30 seconds every 20 minutes.
If you’re looking for one more reason to quit smoking, the health of your eyes is it. Instead of being indirectly associated with eye diseases, smoking actually can be the main cause of devastating conditions such as macular degeneration, development of cataracts and optic nerve damage. Smoking interferes with the blood flow to the retina, prevents nutrition from being absorbed and can cause blood vessels to grow under the retina (which destroy the structure around them as they grow). Though it will be very slowly your eyes do have the ability to heal from past damage caused by smoking. If you need help quitting see your health care provider as soon as possible.
It’s no news that eating healthy and exercising can improve your quality of life by ten fold. But there is little talk as to the amazing benefits it can have on maintaining great eyesight. The increased circulation from exercise can lower pressure in the eyes alleviating symptoms of glaucoma. Avoiding processed foods and vegetable oils and substituting them for fresh veggies and fish like tuna or salmon will provide the lutein (especially dark leafy greens) and Omega-3 fatty oils your eyes need. Also, staying on top of your regular doctor visits can help with early detection of diseases such as diabetes, which can lead to eye problems. In order to keep your eyes in their healthiest state you need to make sure your body as a whole is a well oiled machine so that all parts function properly and work together as a team.
Most importantly don’t wait. After all, your eyes are truly your windows to the world. Start by doing small things as soon as you can if you really value your eyesight and wish to maintain it well into your golden years.