Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes
Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.
1. Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.
During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. This enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you’re seeing your best.
2. Know your family’s eye health history.
Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.
3. Eat Well
Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. To get them, fill your plate with:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources
- Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
- Oysters and pork
4. Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma.
5. Quit smoking or never start.
Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.
6. Exercise Your Eyes
These simple exercises will help you maintain optimal vision and may also keep those annoying eye floaters at bay. Perform these exercises first thing in the morning, before bedtime, or any time your eyes feel fatigued. Make sure that your hands are clean and that your mood is relaxed. Commit to daily practice and you may just see better results within one month.
- Warm your eyes. Rub your palms together to create heat, and then place them against your eyes for five seconds. Repeat this three times.
- Roll your eyes. Start by looking up and then slowly circle 10 times clockwise and 10 times counterclockwise.
- Focus. Hold a pen at arm’s length, focus your eyes on it, and slowly bring the pen closer until it’s about 6 inches away from your nose. Then slowly move it back, keeping your eyes focused on the pen, 10 times in all.
- Massage your temples. Using your thumb knuckles, massage your temples in small circles, 20 times in one direction and 20 in the other. Repeat the same actions above the mid-point of the eyebrows at the forehead, then below the eyes on both sides of the bridge of the nose.
- Take a mini-nap. Put your head back, close your eyes, and relax for 3 minutes.
7. Wear Sunglasses
The right pair of shades will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure boosts your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Choose a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare while you drive.
8. Look Away From the Computer Screen
Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain.
To protect your eyes:
- Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date and good for looking at a computer screen.
- If your eye strain won’t go away, talk to your doctor about computer glasses.
- Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. That lets you look slightly down at the screen.
- Try to avoid glare from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
- Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- If your eyes are dry, blink more.
- Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.
9.Give Your Eyes Some Relaxtion
Getting enough sleep is essential for eye health. Sleep allows your eyes to fully rest, repair, and recover. Insufficient sleep may weaken your vision, so shoot for 8 hours of sound sleep a night.
To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.
Use a fresh towel every time you wipe your face. Sharing face towels or napkins with others can transmit conjunctivitis.
Do not share makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, or eyeglasses.
11. Remove makeup and contacts every night.
It is important not to forget to remove your contact lenses before you go to sleep every night. Sleeping in contacts can allow harmful bacteria to breed in the eye, leading to infection.
- Nearly one million Americans end up at the doctor each year with infections caused by contact lenses, many because they slept in their contacts or did not practice good contact care. Make sure to remove and properly clean your lenses every day.
- In serious cases, people have become blind from poor contact care, which led to the growth of amoebas.
- Remove eye makeup every night, as well. This will prevent small pieces of makeup from winding up in your eye and possibly scratching your cornea. If you leave on mascara, your stiff eyelash may get bent and poke your eye.
12. Use Safety/Sports Eyewear
If you use hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles.
Sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to eye injury. Wear eye protection. Helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses will shield your eyes.
13. Don’t read/use mobile phone in dim light.
Although dim lighting will not adversely affect your eyesight, it will tire your eyes out more quickly. The best way to position a reading light is to have it shine directly onto the page, not over your shoulder. A desk lamp with an opaque shade pointing directly at the reading material is the best possible arrangement. A light that shines over your shoulder will cause a glare, making it more difficult to see the reading material.
14. Don’t read on a moving bus or read while walking
Our eyes focus on a very small area while “seeing”. If your mode of transport isn’t smooth then your hand (or the medium from which you are reading) will shake a lot. This will make your eyes refocus itself repeatedly. This isn’t good for your eyes. If your mode of transport isn’t smooth then it’s recommended that you do not read while traveling.
15.Warm Compress Helps Your Eyes
A compress is soothing. It can make your eye feel better right away. It can also:
- Add moisture. It can ease the gritty feeling that comes with dry eyes.
- Keep natural oils from clogging. Glands in your eyelids make oil. Sometimes it can get thick or clumpy and clog them up. Your eyelid might swell (blepharitis), or you could get a stye or chalazion. The heat from a compress can thin the oil, which may help it drain easily.
- Relieves pain. If you have redness or discomfort from pinkeye or another infection, a compress can give you quick relief.
- Muscle spasms or pain. The wet warmth can relax your eye.