10 tips for good eye health
When it comes to your overall health, it’s easy to take healthy eyes and vision for granted. With around 76 percent of adults in the U.S. wearing glasses or contacts for vision correction, adopting good eye health habits is essential. However, taking care of your eyes is important whether you use vision correction aids or not. To keep your eyes in great shape, we’ve put together these 10 tips to improve your eye health.
1. Keep up with your annual eye exam
Eye exams are for everyone—not just people who use vision aids. To keep up with your eye health, schedule an eye exam once a year with an optometrist, a doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. During an eye exam, the doctor will ask you about your medical history and evaluate your vision to see if you need glasses or contacts. Your doctor will also perform several simple tests to check for other abnormalities or diseases. Conditions like cataracts, floaters and flashes, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and more could negatively affect your health. Discovering issues early and treating them accordingly will keep your eyes healthier in the long-run. If necessary, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor who provides more extensive eye care, like treating disorders and performing surgeries. Check your health insurance plan to make sure eye exams are covered and your eye doctor is in your network.
2. Update your prescription
Along with attending your annual eye exam, be sure to update your glasses or contact lenses with your new prescription when you get one. If your vision has changed, it’s important to update your vision aids to keep your eyes healthy. Did you know your optometrist’s office isn’t the only place you can buy new eyewear and contacts with your vision insurance? Brands like Warby Parker accept many vision insurance providers to help you buy new eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, and even cover the cost of eye exams.
3. Give your eyes a break
It’s no surprise that many Americans spend 7+ hours a day staring at phones, monitors, and large projector screens causing eye strain and other health issues. If you feel a headache, eye pain, or just overall sensitivity to bright screens throughout the day, then give your eyes a break. Taking a screen break is simpler than you think: go grab a coffee, take a walk to a friend’s desk, or even a bathroom break. To make it even easier to rest your eyes, there’s an app called Awareness that will create a pop-up on your computer reminding you to take a quick break from consistent screen time.
4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Striving to be healthy is one of the most important things you can do for your body, including your eyes. This involves clean eating, regular exercise, and a focus on mental health. Attending an annual physical exam is a great way to assess your overall health. During a physical, the doctor will check your weight, blood pressure, and vitals, giving you a clear picture on ways to improve your health. Having a healthy body will help you avoid eye problems like vision loss, eye diseases, or even glaucoma. My Fitness Pal is a fun app to help keep track of your journey to better health. It allows you to record meals, weight, workouts, and more.
5. Protect your eyes from the sun
Throughout the summer months, the sun gets brighter, hotter, and more harmful to our bodies. Wearing hats and sunglasses are two ways to protect your eyes from any damage. Keep a hat and sunglasses handy in your car or at work to avoid being without sun protection if last minute plans pop up. When picking out sunglasses, be sure to find a pair that blocks close to 100% of UVA and UVB radiation. The right sunglasses will help your eyes feel less strained when you are out in the sun for extended periods of time.
6. Keep your contacts and case clean
If you wear contacts every day, this tip is essential for you. Always wash your hands before touching your contacts and eyes to reduce the chance of spreading germs. Be sure to use new solution and rinse out your contact case every day. This will ensure that your case stays safe from bacteria. Replace your contacts immediately if you see dirt, rips, or anything else that looks unclean. This will reduce the chance of eye pain, tears, or infections.
7. Eat healthy foods
Your diet can have a profound effect on your eye health. Aim to eat raw, whole foods rich in vitamins A, C, E, omega-3 fatty acids, and beta-carotene for the most benefit. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that allows the body to create connective tissue, which includes collagen found in the cornea of your eyes. You can find vitamin C in raw red peppers, strawberries, cauliflower, and papayas. Vitamin A is made of antioxidant compounds that help strengthen the eye surface to reduce the risk of bacteria, viruses, and infections. Poultry and other lean meats provide zinc which carries vitamin A to the retinas. Omega-3 fatty acids will help reduce dry eyes and can be found in salmon. Orange-colored foods are typically high in beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that improves your eye’s ability to adjust to the darkness, and can be found in sweet potatoes, carrots, mangos, and more. Do your research and you’ll be surprised as to how many foods can boost your overall health as well.
8. Learn about your family’s eye health history
Over 350 eye diseases are hereditary. This includes color blindness, glaucoma, night blindness, albinism, plus more. Talking to family members about their health history can give you a better sense as to what hereditary vision issues you might be susceptible to. Learn as much as you can and take the necessary steps to prevent any negative impacts on your eyes. Consult your doctor about your family’s health history during your annual eye exam.
9. Get enough sleep
Going to bed at a decent time every night can help your eyes wake up brighter in the morning. According to the National Sleep Foundation, younger adults (ages 18-25) and adults (ages 26-64) should be sleeping for 7-9 hours a night. Not only will more sleep make you feel refreshed and ready for the day but will also help you perform better at work.
10. Protective eye gear
This is important advice for people involved in construction, physical sports, and any industry or hobby that involves tools and physical labor. Goggles, hard hats, and plastic glasses are a few safety precautions to wear to help shield your eyes. When it comes to sports, there are specialized helmets and eyewear options that meet safety standards to prevent eye injuries.
With the amount of exposure our eyes get to outside elements daily, it’s imperative that we keep them protected from any potential harm. Put these 10 tips to use as soon as possible to prevent any damage to your eyes and stay on top of your eye health every single day.
This article was written by Warby Parker, an American online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses. For every pair sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.