7 Ways To Keep Your Eyes As Healthy As Your Body

How  To Keep Your Eyes As Healthy As Your Body
Photo Credit: Michele Catania via Compfight cc

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide — and of these cases, about 80 percent of them could have been avoided or cured. The eyes are sensitive organs, making them especially vulnerable to a variety of general diseases and injuries that affect the overall functioning of the body.

Many people are too busy to have their eyes examined as often as they should. The good news is that it’s not difficult to maintain eye health. Here are seven ways to protect your eyes so you can keep gazing at the ocean for years to come:

  • Supplements
  • Food
  • Exercise
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Safety Eyewear
  • Smoking

Supplements

When Mom told you to eat carrots she was right. Carrots are good for your eyes — this has some truth. That’s because carrots contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are naturally found in the eyes and which can help ward off cataracts and macular degeneration. Carotenoids can be found much more plentifully in leafy green foods, such as kale, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, and broccoli than carrots.

Supplements that provide the greatest direct benefit for the eyes include vitamin A, lutein and copper. High doses of vitamin A are needed to keep the retina functioning properly, and disorders such as night blindness and Xeropthalmia are often caused by a vitamin A deficiency. Copper is available as a nutritional supplement and is also present in many foods. The minimum recommended dosage of copper for adults is one milligrams per day.

Food

Many foods can protect the eyes from a variety of age-related vision problems. These include leafy, green vegetables that contain vitamin A and lutein, such as collards, spinach and kale [1], as mentioned above. Fatty fish such as wild salmon and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids, which is important for eye health [1]. Non-meat sources of omega-3 fatty acids include beans, eggs and nuts. Citrus fruits such as oranges contain large amounts of vitamin C, which is essential for eye health [1]. A well-balanced diet can help prevent metabolic diseases such as diabetes, which is a leading cause of blindness among adults [1].

Exercise

Eyes are often subject to strain when they look at the same thing for an extended period of time. This frequently occurs with computer-based work. A number of exercises are available for reduce eyestrain from prolonged monitor use. Computer users should rest their eyes by looking at an object that’s at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds, according to the Mayo Clinic. Take a 15-minute break after two hours of continuous computer usage.

Someone with dry eyes may need to make a conscious effort to blink more often than usual Set the center of your computer screen 4 to 5 inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from your eyes. Reduce glare by using lower-wattage lightbulbs overhead and closing curtains or drapes. Finally, try to blink more often, and rest 15 minutes after every two hours of computer use.

Hats

The sun can cause cumulative damage to the eyes, resulting in diseases such as cancer and cataracts. Hats are one method of minimizing the long-term effects of the sun on the eyes. Hats with a broad brim are the most effective for this purpose, and it’s especially important to provide children with hats whenever they are outside [3]. Children should remain out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day, when ultraviolet radiation is at its strongest [3].

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are another common method of protecting eyes from the sun. The best sunglasses for eye protection should block at least 99 percent of both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B light waves. Wraparound lenses block light from the side of a person’s face  providing additional coverage. Polarized lenses reduce the glare from reflective surfaces such as snow, water and highways. Some contact lenses also provide some protection from UV light.

Safety Eyewear

Safety glasses are an important protective device when performing activities that may involve high-speed projectiles. These include using power tools, such as chainsaws, power saws, lawn mowers and weed trimmers. Certain sports also require safety glasses, which are part of the standard equipment for ice hockey, lacrosse and racquetball. Sports such as football and hockey may also require helmets or face masks to protect the eyes. The most common material for safety glasses is polycarbonate, which doesn’t shatter upon impact.

Smoking

Smoking causes long-term damage to the body in general, which can result in eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage. Anyone who has failed to quit smoking in the past should continue trying.

Summary

Not only is it important to see your eye doctor for routine visits, but you should also know the warning signs that might necessitate a more immediate visit. Call your eye doctor if you have difficulty adjusting to light or dark, trouble focusing, unusual sensitivity, a change in the color of the iris or lids, pain, double vision, dark spots or halos, dry or watery eyes, flashes of light, or loss of peripheral vision. When your vision is compromised, make sure a friend or family member drives you to your appointment.

Sources

  1. Maintaining Good Eye Health, WebMD
  2. 10 Best Supplements for Eye Health, Newsmax
  3. Keep an Eye on Ultraviolet (UV) Safety, American Academy of Ophthalmology

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