7 Ways to Save Your Vision
March is Save Your Vision Month, meaning there has never been a better time to see your eye care specialist.
March is Save Your Vision Month, making it a great time to remind people of the importance of proper eye care. The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that by 2020, as many as 43 million Americans will be experiencing significant vision loss or blindness due to age-related eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
Though many eyesight-robbing conditions cannot be prevented, there are a number of steps one can take to maintain excellent vision throughout life. Explore seven of the most common steps below.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Many leafy, dark green vegetables and red-hued fruits — broccoli, peas, Brussels sprouts, red peppers, cherries, strawberries — contain lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients believed to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Adding these and Omega-3 fatty acid-packed fish (salmon, sardines, and swordfish) to one’s diet can actually reduce one’s risk of AMD. Similarly, orange-colored foods — carrots, sweet potatoes, yams — contain high amounts of eye health-boosting beta-carotene.
2. Stop Smoking
Lighting up increases one’s risk of developing AMD — a risk that remains even after quitting smoking. Smoking has also been linked to damaging eye diseases such as cataracts and uveitis, an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
3. Reduce Screen Time
Staring at a smartphone, tablet, computer, or television for hours on end can lead to headaches, dry eyes, and blurred vision. Computer screens should always been kept at arm’s length to lessen strain on one’s eyes, and when using any kind of screen for an extended period of time, it’s important to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
4. Wear Protective Glasses
When outside on sunny days, don a pair of sunglasses that block the entire spectrum of ultraviolet (UV) rays. Sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and glare-reducing polarized lenses thwart the development of AMD and cataracts. For some people, it can also be worthwhile to wear protective goggles to shield one’s eyes from injury when playing sports or doing heavy repair work.
5. Schedule an Annual Eye Exam
After turning 40, everyone is advised to undergo a basic eye exam every year. An annual exam alerts one’s eye doctor to any early signs of vision problems that might require intervention. During these exams, one should be sure to talk to one’s eye care specialist about one’s personal and family health history — ocular and otherwise.
Eye diseases sometimes run in families, so it’s important for one’s doctor to have a comprehensive understanding of one’s genetic risk factors. Further, people with diabetes, for example, are prone to developing diabetic retinopathy, a condition that damages the blood vessels in the retina.
6. Keep Prescriptions Up-to-Date
An annual eye exam also ensures one’s prescription is kept up-to-date — it’s not unusual for one’s eyesight to change considerably over the course of a year. Contact lens wearers should also be aware that best practices for proper lens care can change depending on one’s type of lenses, and it’s important to ask for advice from one’s eye doctor after changing prescriptions. For instance, some lenses can be slept in overnight, whereas others cannot.
7. Invest in LASIK Surgery
LASIK surgery is a safe, effective option for people with imperfect eyesight who want to forego the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. The procedure can rectify nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. A consultation with an eye specialist can give one a better idea of whether LASIK is right for them.
Taking care of one’s eyes is a vital part of staying healthy and shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re experiencing eye pain or deteriorating vision, visit an ophthalmologist immediately. Or, if you need an annual exam or want to discuss the possibility of LASIK surgery, contact one of the specialists at the Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers of Texas today to schedule an appointment.