Recent studies and statistics show eye health means a great deal to Americans, but some are still not doing what is needed to have lasting vision for themselves and their families. A survey conducted by Bausch + Lomb found that seven in 10 people would rather lose a limb than their eyesight, but they are not aware of the importance of an eye exam.[i] Many Americans believe that an eye exam is only needed for those who have vision problems, but in fact, annual eye exams are important for everyone as they allow doctors to spot early signs of certain diseases.
Now that you know the importance of eye health, you can focus on incorporating some of the following tips to easily fit eye care into your lifestyle.
Get regular eye exams
Many people wait to schedule an eye exam until they’ve suffered with vision problems for quite a while. However, vision problems are not the only reason to see your eye doctor. A healthy person should have an annual eye exam, regardless of whether or not he has perfect vision!
An eye exam can allow a doctor to detect much more than changes in your vision. Not only can eye exams detect high blood pressure, heart problems, or high blood sugar, but it can also detect early signs of eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration. Some of these conditions do not show early symptoms. Going to regular eye exams can mean early detection and a better chance to correct the problem or slow the progression. You don’t want to take chances when it comes to your eye health, so don’t neglect your annual eye exams.
Incorporate foods that support eye health
You already know that eating healthful foods is good for the body, but you may not have considered what it can do for your eyes. Certain foods are excellent for supporting your eyesight. Choose foods that are rich in vitamin C and E, lutein, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids to keep your eyes healthy and strong. You can find these vitamins and nutrients in leafy green vegetables, fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon), citrus fruits, eggs, and nuts.
Cut out the cigarettes
It is well documented that cigarettes are bad for your health overall, but did you know they also affect eye health? Research shows that smokers are three times more likely to get cataracts, experience macular degeneration, or experience uveitis than nonsmokers.[ii] These conditions can even lead to blindness, so there is no better time to ditch cigarettes!
Wear your shades
Sunglasses are for more than “looking cool.” A good pair of shades helps to block the sun’s UV rays from hurting your eyes. When selecting the perfect pair, make sure you opt for sunglasses with good UV protection. Choose a shape that is large enough to cover your eyes and go for shades with a wraparound style if you’re looking for extra coverage. You can even ask your eye doctor about the availability of UV contact lenses!
Don’t neglect your protective eyewear
There are a lot of situations where Americans ought to be using protective eyewear, and then don’t. Be sure you’re not forgetting to use protective eyewear when necessary. Protective eyewear includes things like eye guards, safety glasses, safety shields, and goggles. If your sport, hobby, or job requires protective eyewear, make sure to use it, every time!
Handle your contacts correctly
It has been found that many Americans do not follow the guidelines for handling and caring for their contact lenses. If you wear contacts, make sure that you’re removing and cleaning your lenses as required. Clean your contacts with the proper solution— not soap, not water, not makeup remover, etc. Improper care of your contacts can leave you at risk for certain eye infections, so contact-wearers: Don’t skimp on the cleaning!
It can be easy to take our eyes for granted, but you can’t take chances with something as important as your vision. If you take the simple steps listed above, you can take charge of your eye health and keep your eyes protected.
i Bausch + Lomb. (2012). Global barometer of eye health. Retrieved from http://www.bausch.com/our-company/newsroom/fact-sheet
[ii] Rodrigues, A. (2018). How smoking harms your vision. All About Vision.com. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/smoking/