When we rely on our eyes as much as we do, taking proper care of them should be a significant priority. There are lots of conditions that can affect their health and consequently, our vision. The good news is that many of these diseases and problems can be prevented when you take proper steps to ensure that your eyes are as healthy as they can be.
Here are our tops tips to help you to ensure that you have healthy eyes and clear vision both in 2020 and beyond.
Many people think that sunglasses are only needed on bright, sunny days, but the truth is that UV damage to our eyes can occur even on more overcast days. UV light is what causes our skin to burn, and it can also have a detrimental impact on the sensitive skin around our eyes and the eyes themselves. Protecting your eyes from harmful UV light can be simple – just choose sunglasses that are rated to keep out 100% of these harmful rays. These should state that they have both UVA and UVB protection and choose wide frames or wrap around styles for extra protection. A wide-brimmed hat is also very useful at keeping dangerous UV rays at bay.
Most people know that smoking is bad for their general health, but did you know that it can also directly affect your eyes and vision. This is because smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress – something which is a contributor to several health conditions that affect the eyes.
Blue light is a short-wave, high-energy light that we can actually see. There is some blue light naturally in the world around us, but excessive exposure to artificial blue light – such as that emitted by computer and smartphone screens, televisions, strip lighting and more can be hazardous to our eyes. The increased time that we spend looking at digital devices means that we are exposed to more blue light than ever before. Fortunately, there are blue light filters that can be attached to many devices that remove this blue light and prevent unpleasant symptoms that occur due to overexposure.
What we eat plays a big role in our overall wellbeing, including the health of our eyes. Certain foods have been shown to be particularly good for keeping our eyes in the best possible condition, including those rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C. Examples include leafy, green vegetables such as kale and spinach, eggs, orange and yellow vegetables, and fruit, tomatoes, green and red peppers, and winter squash. Fatty, oily fish is also very good for eye health as they contain omega-3 fatty acids that are important to the health of the macula – the part of the eye responsible for central vision.
Our eyes are extremely sensitive and so you must wash your hands before you touch them – such as when you are taking out or putting in contact lenses. Washing them prevents the transmission of contaminants such as dirt, dust, and bacteria to the eyes.
Myopia – aka nearsightedness – is the most common refractive eye problem in the U.S. and the number of patients experiencing the condition has risen by more than 25% in the last 40 years. Some experts have attributed this increase to excessive amounts of time spent indoors and looking at screens. Unfortunately, being myopic comes with its own risks including a greater chance of developing cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Getting outdoors more and enjoying the natural light, as well as reducing time spent on digital devices, can all reduce your risk of developing myopia.
Sunglasses are just one type of eye protection. If you work in a job or take part in a recreational activity that could put your eyes at risk, you should be given protective eyewear in the form of goggles or safety specs. If it is in the line of work, your employer should have a duty of care in line with their health and safety standards. Be sure to use eye protection to minimize the risk of accident or injury.
Regular comprehensive eye exams are recommended for all patients, especially as they get older and the health of our eyes and body naturally deteriorates. Make sure that you attend all appointments that are recommended, and these will allow your doctor to spot developing issues early, before they cause significant, painful symptoms that are tricky to resolve.
If you’d like more tips on how to maintain good eye health in 2020, please contact our offices today.