Our eyesight is a precious thing and while it may naturally decline as we age, there is a lot we can do to achieve optimal ocular health and preserve vision as best we can. If you are like most people, myself included, you are probably taking your eyes for granted and not giving much thought to properly caring for them. As someone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer, I have developed an interest in eye health and would like to share some useful tips I have uncovered in my own search.
Get Regular Eye Exams
To keep on top of any eye problems and nip them in the bud as soon as possible, it is recommended to get your eyes checked every two years—this applies to anyone, even if you have seemingly perfect vision. Older adults and children may benefit from annual exams.
Eat an Eye-Healthy Diet
The nutrients in our food all serve one purpose or another and when it comes to eye health, the major players appear to be zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene , omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and other whole foods in a variety of colors is your best bet for getting all of them in the proper amounts. Some good examples include dark green vegetables, broccoli, pepper, citrus fruits, potatoes, carrots, papaya, strawberries, sweet potatoes, yams, salmon, walnuts, hemp seed and flax seed.
Use Proper Lighting
Avoiding eye strain through proper lighting is also important for eye health; when watching television at night, keeping the room softly lit to reduce contrast may help. Having a light source behind you when doing tasks is optimal; but when you are sitting at a desk, having the light source in front of you with a covering to prevent the light from shining in your eyes is good. Natural and incandescent lighting is better than fluorescent. Reduce glare on computer screens by getting an anti-glare screen.
Give Your Eyes a Rest
In an age where we spend a good deal of our day staring at computers, televisions and smart phones, we are putting a lot of strain on our eyes. Prolonged periods of focus can cause eye fatigue, headaches and other uncomfortable problems that can affect your ability to concentrate. Some recommendations include taking a 10 minute break every 50 minutes when reading, using a computer or doing any other task that requires intense focus; one exercise to reduce eye strain includes focusing on an object 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
Wash Off Eye Makeup and Use Natural Products
Failure to wash make-up from your eyes every night can lead to infections and even vision problems over the long-term. Look for natural removers that contain gentle ingredients such as jojoba oil, olive oil or coconut oil. Look for mascaras, eye shadows and eyeliners made from natural ingredients free of synthetic preservatives and other substances.
Preventing Dry Eyes
Dry air can cause dry, irritated eyes; if heating your home in the winter is irritating your eyes, get a humidifier to moisten the air. Go easy on the caffeine too. Research shows that while drinking a cup or two of coffee or tea daily may help prevent dry eyes, consuming more than this may actually have the opposite effect.
Regularly Replace Your Contact Lens Case
A seldomly-cleaned contact lense case is a breeding ground for bacteria, especially when it spends most of its time in a humid bathroom. Getting a new case every three months is a good idea. After putting your lenses in, make sure the case is free of any remaining solution; rinse it thoroughly and dry it so it is nice and clean for when you put your lenses back in there.
Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory, they are an important tool for protecting your eyes. When we think of the dangers of UV rays, we forget that they can be as harmful to the eyes as they are to the skin. Not only do about 10 percent of skin cancers develop on the eyelid, high levels of UV exposure increases the risk of developing many serious eye conditions, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, both of which can lead to permanent vision loss.
Smoking cigarettes is not just bad for your lungs, but pretty much every part of your body. If you are concerned about eye health, this is one bad habit to kick to the curb. Smoking contains numerous substances that cause damage at the cellular level, including the cells of your eyes. It impairs circulation, which means oxygen, nutrients and other important substances cannot get where they need to go. Smoking is thought to increase the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage.
Use Proper Protection
If your job or leisure activities of choice potentially put your eyes in danger, it is important to wear protective gear that will reduce the risk of injury or other issues that may cause long-term damage like vision loss. Goggles and glasses made from polycarbonate lenses are a good choice.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a range of topics from health to real estate. If you are looking for shades or eyeglasses, follow the link to check out a great selection of products, such as lightweight Tory Burch eyeglasses.