A healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet that including fresh fruit and vegetables is important to maintain a healthy body and healthy vision. Systemic medication for diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, anxiety disorders and many other have an adverse effect on your eyes, especially the tear layer, in which case the regular usage of artificial tears is indicated.
Always work with good lighting, especially when reading. Take regular breaks every half hour when working with a computer. Always try to get enough sleep, and where not possible, use lubricating drops to sooth tired eyes. Be sure your spectacles and good quality sunglasses have a UV, and an antireflective filter layer. Wear eye protection whenever doing tasks where the eyes are on risk.
Compare the 2 eyes from time to time by closing one eye, and comparing the vision to that of the other eye. Be aware of any sudden changes. These need urgent attention. Don’t ignore symptoms. Know what to do in an emergency. Have regular eye checkups with your Optometrist.
Your eyes are your windows to the world, so it's important to take good care of them.
Healthy Eye Guidelines
1. Eat Well
Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. Be sure to fill your plate with:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards.
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish.
- Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources.
- Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices.
A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
2. Quit Smoking
It makes you more likely to get cataracts, damage to your optic nerve, and macular degeneration. If you've tried to kick the habit before only to start again, keep at it. The more times you try to quit, the more likely you are to succeed. Ask your doctor for help.
3. Wear Sunglasses
The right pair of shades will help protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure boosts your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Choose a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare while you drive.
If you wear contact lenses, some offer UV protection. It's still a good idea to wear sunglasses for an extra layer.
4. Use Safety Eyewear
If you use hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles. Sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to eye injury. Wear eye protection. Helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses will shield your eyes.
5. Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause:
- Blurry vision.
- Trouble focusing at a distance.
- Dry eyes.
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain.
6. Protect your eyes:
- Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date and good for looking at a computer screen.
- If your eye strain won’t go away, talk to your doctor about computer glasses.
- Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. That lets you look slightly down at the screen.
- Try to avoid glare from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
- Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- If your eyes are dry, blink more.
- Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.
Good Eye Care Habits
Visit an eye care practitioner regularly.
These are trained professionals who specialize in looking after the health of your eyes. They can be ophthalmologists (eye doctors) or optometrists. To keep your eyes in good health, have your eyes checked regularly or when you are having problems with your vision.
Learn more about your eyes and ask your eye care practitioner questions when you have them. Learning more about your eyes and how to prevent eye diseases will help you to feel more in control of your health.
Don’t wait until you know something is wrong to have an eye test; many serious conditions have little or no symptoms until they are advanced.
Even if you don't have any vision problems, you should visit an eye care practitioner every 1-2 years, to check your vision needs, and to check the health of your eyes.
Take your contacts out at the end of the day.
Avoid wearing contact lenses for more than 19 hours. Wearing contact lenses for too long can cause permanent vision damage as well as extreme discomfort to your eyes.
Never sleep with your contact lenses in unless your doctor specifically instructs you to do so. Your eyes need regular supplies of oxygen, and lenses block the flow of oxygen to the eyes, especially during sleep, so doctors recommend a normal break from wearing contact lenses for your eyes during the night.
Do not swim while wearing contact lenses unless you are wearing tight fitting swimming goggles. It's better to use prescription goggles if needed. It is fine to wear contacts in the shower providing you keep your eyes closed when you are likely to get soap or shampoo in your eyes.
Follow the instructions from the manufacturer and your eye care practitioner about using the contact lenses and the solutions. One of the most important caveats is to wash your hands before handling your contact lenses.
Remove your eye makeup at the end of the day.
Always take time to remove your eye makeup before you go to bed. Never go to bed with your eye makeup still on. If you go to bed with mascara or eyeliner on, it can get into your eyes and cause irritation.
Sleeping in your eye makeup can also cause the pores around your eyes to become clogged, which can lead to styes or (hordeolum). A severe stye can require antibiotics or even need to be removed by a doctor.
Keep makeup remover pads near your bed for times when you are too tired to go through your nighttime cleansing routine.
Use allergen-reducing eye drops sparingly.
Using an allergen-reducing eye drop during allergy season may help 'get the red out' and sooth itchiness, but daily use can actually make the problem worse. It can cause something called rebound redness, which results in excessive eye redness because eyes no longer respond to eye drops.
Allergen-reducing eye drops work by constricting the blood flow to the cornea, which deprives it of oxygen. So while your eyes don't feel inflamed and itchy anymore, they're actually not getting enough oxygen from blood. That's not ideal, because the eye muscles and tissues need oxygen to function. The lack of oxygen can even result in swelling and scarring.
Read the labels of eye drops carefully, especially if you wear contacts. Many eye drops cannot be used while wearing contacts. Ask your eye care practitioner what kind of eye drops are okay to use with contacts.
Wear UV protective sunglasses.
Always wear sunglasses when you are outside and the sun is shining. Look for sunglasses that have a sticker that specifies that the lenses block 99% or 100% of UVB and UVA rays.
Prolonged exposure to UV rays can harm your eyesight, protection in youth can help prevent loss of eyesight in later years. Exposure to UV rays has been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula and pterygium, harmful conditions for the eyes.
Since the damage to eyes from UV rays builds up over a lifetime, it's important to shield children from harmful rays. Make sure your children wear hats and protective glasses when they are out in the sunlight for prolonged periods.
Be sure to wear sunglasses even if you're in the shade. Even though shade lessens UV and HEV exposure significantly, you're still exposing your eyes to UV rays reflected off of buildings and other structures.
Never stare directly into the sun even if you are wearing UV sunglasses. The sun’s rays are very powerful and can damage the sensitive parts of the retina if exposed to full sunlight.
Wear goggles when appropriate.
Be sure to wear goggles or other eye protective wear when working with chemicals, power tools, or any place with harmful airborne particulates. Wearing goggles will help protect your eyes from any large or small objects that might hit you in the eye and cause damage.
Get plenty of sleep.
Inadequate sleep may contribute to eye fatigue. Symptoms of eye fatigue include eye irritation, difficulty focusing, dryness or excessive tears, blurred or double vision, light sensitivity, or pain in the neck, shoulders, or back. Make sure that you get enough sleep every night to help prevent eye fatigue. Adults require about 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Regular exercise can help prevent other diseases such as diabetes. By getting at least 30 minutes of exercise three times per week, you can reduce your chances of developing serious eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Know your family’s eye health history.
Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.