9 Ways to Protect Your Vision
April 04 2023
Preventing Vision Loss Can Help Maintain Healthy Eyes
Your eyes are an important aspect of your health. If you have great vision, you’ve probably not given your eye health a second thought. But as you age, you may not be aware of slow changes that can occur that will dramatically affect the way you see. Some changes may even lead to blindness.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to protect your vision. Here are 9 things you can do now to help prevent vision loss and maintain healthy eyes.
1 | Get Regular Eye Exams
Getting a regular eye exam can help detect changes that are happening slowly in your eye that you may not otherwise notice. Exams are able to detect early warning signs of eye health issues that allow your eye doctor to more easily treat or correct those issues. Besides regular eye checks, a comprehensive dilated eye exam can also reveal more because it allows the eye doctor to get a good look at the back of the eye to examine it for signs of damage or disease. If your eye doctor prescribes a drug or procedure, talk about your options. Once you have decided on a course of action, be sure to follow that care plan to ensure you maintain your vision.
2 | Wear Sunglasses with UV Protection
Ultraviolet light from the sun can damage your eyes, increasing your chance of getting cataracts, which cause cloudy vision. It’s important to note that dark glasses without UV protection will cause your eyes to dilate and allow more UV radiation to enter the eye. So be sure that you use sunglasses that are labeled as 100% UVA and UVB protection and that have a uniform tint to the lens. If you are outside often, consider wraparound sunglasses that protect the eyes from UV rays that can sneak around the side of the sunglasses.
3 | Eat Right
Like other parts of your body, your eyes need specific nutrients to stay healthy. Eating a diet with eye-healthy foods can help you maintain your eye health and vision. Orange and red veggies are rich in beta-carotene, which the body uses to make Vitamin A, an essential vitamin for eye health. Antioxidants full of lutein and zeaxanthin may help block blue light, which can harm retinal cells, leading to age-related macular degeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help prevent dry eye.
Eye-healthy foods include:
- Dark green leafy veggies (spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.)
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Bell peppers
- Salmon, tuna, and sardines
- Nuts, legumes, and seeds
You can also speak with your doctor about supplements if you feel key vitamins or nutrients are missing from your diet.
4 | Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. Speak with your doctor about the diet and exercise regimen that would be right for you to help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. In fact, one Swedish study found that there is a link between increased types of physical activity (including walking) and reduced risk of age-related cataracts.
5 | Manage Your Diabetes
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 90% of blindness caused by diabetes is preventable. Managing your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol can all help manage your diabetes and maintain your eye health and vision.
6 | Know Your Family’s Eye Health History
Speak with your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition, since many are hereditary. This information can help you determine if you are at high risk for developing a certain condition or disease, which is important for your eye doctor to be aware of.
7 | Stop Smoking
Smoking is extremely bad for your eye health and can increase your risk for many eye conditions and speed up the progression of those conditions. Work with your care team to stop smoking with the cessation aides that are right for you.
8 | Give Your Eyes a Rest
If you stare at screens for a long time or do other tasks that require visual concentration, take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: look away from the screen every 20 minutes, focusing on something 20 feet in the distance for at least 20 seconds. Also get in the habit of blinking every few seconds, with your upper and lower eyelids fully touching, to help spread a fresh layer of tears over the surface of your eyes. Also, glare can make it even more difficult to see objects on your computer screen, so turn off lights or close windows that create glare on your screen.
9 | Practice Good Eye Hygiene and Safety
Avoid eye infections by ensuring that your hands are thoroughly clean before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Also be sure to disinfect or clean contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.
If you wear makeup, be sure to remove all traces of eye makeup before bed to prevent morning irritation. Be sure to also throw out eye makeup that is past its expiration date to avoid eye infections and inflammation.
Finally, if your job has the risk of projectiles, chemical splatters, or similar workplace safety issues, be sure to wear protective eyewear as required by your job. Protecting your eyes from an accident can help save your vision!
Your vision and eye health are an important part of your health. Protecting and maintaining your vision can help you see well as you age. You don’t often know what you have until you lose it, and many of us take good vision and eye health for granted. Get regular eye exams to help detect early warning signs of eye diseases and conditions, making them easier to treat. At home, make sure that you eat right, maintain your overall health, as well as practice good eye hygiene.