7 Healthy Habits to Protect Your Vision


7 Healthy Habits to Protect Your Vision

As we age, we feel the effects throughout our bodies—the health of the eye is no different. In the past decade, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 3.4 million Americans aged 40 years and older were blind or visually impaired, and at least 21 million were affected by other vision-related illnesses. 

It is crucial that you keep your eyes healthy, especially if you have a history of poor eyesight in your family. Though aging and genetics are out of your control, there are some things that you can do to preserve and protect your vision—even those who already wear glasses or contact lenses.

1. Buy the Right Sunglasses


The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests that too much exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from natural sunlight, even the artificial rays from tanning booths or sunlamps, can damage the eye’s surface tissues and the cornea over time.


To prevent this, wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection (for different sunlight sensitivities). Some even block 99–100 percent of the rays. If you wear contacts, some models offer UV filters. You can even adopt this type of lens with sunglasses, thus adding an extra layer of protection.


2. Get Your Vitamins


Eye health is also influenced by nutrition. Just by changing your daily diet, you can contribute to healthy vision.


Here are the vitamins that can impact your vision health:


      Vitamin A– Found in carrots, tomatoes, pumpkins, and green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, this vitamin keeps the cornea clear and healthy.

      Vitamin C– Fruits and vegetables such as oranges, broccoli, pineapples, and cauliflower are sources of oxidants, which can delay the onset of cataracts.

      Vitamin E– Dark vegetables, dried fruits, and oily fish (like salmon and tuna) are rich in vitamin E and omega-3, which help protect cell membranes.

      Vitamin B12– Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to painless vision loss. Avoid this by consuming milk and liver or by taking supplements.

      Lutein and Zeaxanthin– Both are eye nutrients concentrated in the macula (the part of the eye responsible for central vision). Attain these nutrients by consuming egg yolks and green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and peas.


3. Take Steps to Fight Eye Fatigue When Using Screens


Devices such as televisions, cell phones, and computer screens bombard eyes with high-energy blue light. The eye’s macula has substances that help filter blue light, but overexposure can cause eye fatigue and other problems, such as blurred vision, dry eyes, and headaches.


Here are some practices to avoid the excessive use of screens:


      Rest your eyes every 20 minutes and, during this time, take your eyes off the screen and look away for 20 seconds.

      Walk away from the computer or TV every 2 hours, and take a 15-minute break.

      Keep the computer screen between 20 and 24 inches from your eyes, and maintain the top of the screen slightly below your vision level.

      Adjust the screen of your computer, TV, or cell phone to minimize glare.

      Blink frequently to lubricate the eyes, or use lubricating eye drops.


4. See Your Optometrist Regularly


It’s recommended to have a check-up every two years. However, visits to the optometrist should become more frequent after age 40, especially if you have a family history of vision-related illnesses.


The optometrist can detect early signs of diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration and even identify hypertension and diabetes through your eyes.


Visit your doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms:


      Double or blurred vision,

      Sudden eye pain,

      Recurrent pain in the eyes or around them, or

      Bright floating spots or halos around lights.


Don’t forget to keep your prescription for glasses or contacts up to date. If your lenses are no longer enough to correct your vision, you will begin to suffer from headaches, blurry vision, and eye fatigue. Visit a top-rated online retailer for prescription sunglasses.


5. Manage Your Blood Pressure


High blood pressure reduces the circulatory system’s efficiency, impacting your eyes. If they fail to maintain adequate blood flow, your vision will be affected. With a proper diet, adequate exercise, and regular visits to the doctor, you can prevent high blood pressure or hypertension, conditions that can cause severe problems to your eyes, such as retinopathy or nerve damage.


6. Avoid Infections


Using your hands or fingers to rub your eyes can cause itching and irritation, infections such as conjunctivitis, and even severe diseases.


Maintain regular hygiene habits to avoid infections:


      Wash your hands before touching your eyes,

      Do not share eye cosmetics or eye applicators,

      Completely remove makeup before bed, and

      Clean your contacts and their cases frequently.


7. Wear Protective Equipment When Needed


Never perform activities using power tools without wearing protective goggles. For example, when cutting grass, lawn mowing equipment may launch stones, wooden fragments, or other material directly into your eyes and cause serious injuries.


The same goes for contact sports, such as ice hockey or lacrosse. There are helmets with protective masks and sports glasses with reinforced lenses to protect your eyes from accidental impacts.


Seeing Better Depends on You


The gradual loss of vision with aging brings drastic changes to your quality of life. Fortunately, simple habits like those presented above can help you protect your eyes and maintain their health for years. Don’t forget to have regular eye exams and see your optometrist at the first sign of something wrong. It is the best way to continue seeing well.