It’s important to learn how to keep your eyes healthy; you only get two, after all. There is a lifetime of places to see, special moments to capture and faces to remember, all of which are too valuable to be blurred or dimmed in any way.
Like little cameras, our eyeballs are incredible and complex organs that help to capture and retain images of the world around us; without them, we would literally be lost in the dark. Vision is one of our most precious assets, and should be carefully guarded as such. Our eyes are not only the lenses we see through, but they are the windows into our overall health.
According to the American Optometric Association a full dilated eye exam is generally recommended at least every two years for adults, and annually for those over 60. Frequency of exams depends on age, whether or not you wear a prescription, and if your eye doctor determines that you are otherwise at a higher risk for eye disease. During a routine evaluation, the doctor will look for nearsightedness or farsightedness to see if you need corrective lenses, then dilate your pupils to search for signs of eye disease, which if detected and treated early enough can prevent permanent vision loss.
Of all the tests in life, “Which way is the E facing?” is probably one of the easiest. A trip to the eye doctor is a simple preventive measure that will keep you seeing clearly for a long time, and could also help to reveal symptoms of more serious issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes. You may even get a nice new pair of specs out of the deal.
Of course, exams, contacts, prescriptions lenses and frames can all add up, especially if you don’t have vision insurance. As a long-time squinter, “I can’t see!” protestor, and glasses and contacts wearer, I can vouch for that.
In between regular eye exams, here are some everyday tips on how to keep your eyes healthy:
- Wear your glasses. It’s simple: if you can’t see, wear your glasses! Straining your eyes is only going to hurt you in the long run. Maybe you don’t like yourself in glasses, but you’ll look a lot better than squinting. Besides, wearing glasses is very “in” right now. Call yourself a hipster and move on.
- Try the 20-20-20 rule. If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen during the day, you could be straining and fatiguing your eyes. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a refresher.
- Put your shades on. Protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and look cool at the same time. Look for lenses with the highest percentage of UVA and UVB protection.
- For strong eyes, eat your fruits, veggies and leafy greens. It’s a well-known notion that eating carrots can help to improve eyesight. And while eating all the carrots you can stomach may do no more than turn your skin orange, maintaining a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals like the Vitamin A in carrots is essential to maintaining overall eye health. Leafy greens and antioxidant rich-fruits are especially effective in fighting off disease and age-related issues such as macular degeneration and cataracts. If you’re looking for how to keep your eyes healthy, adjusting your diet can be a big help.
- Don’t shoot your eye out. When playing sports or working in hazardous conditions, save your eyes from injury by wearing protective eyewear.
- Practice proper contact lens care. Wash your hands before putting in your contacts and taking them out, always store them in fresh solution, and replace them as often as directed. These basic hygiene practices can help to prevent eye damage and in the worst case, vision loss.
- If there is a problem, see an eye doctor immediately. Consult with a professional as soon as you experience any pain, blurriness, or other abnormal changes in your vision. It could be a warning sign of something worse.
- Butts out. Yet another reason to quit smoking. Research has shown that both past and current smokers are at an increased risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts with age.
Now you know how to keep your eyes healthy. Don’t delay, start today!
Visit AAA.com’s section on discounts to learn more about how you can save on glasses and eye exams.