Like every other part of the body, the eyes deteriorate over time. However, there are steps that you can take to minimize the deterioration and improve the overall health. You can avoid some of the most problematic conditions, including glaucoma and macular degeneration disease.
Prevention is much better than repair. Some conditions can’t be reversed, but you can halt the condition from getting worse and prevent the initial symptoms appearing at all. You just must be willing to put your eye health first.
Here are six ways to improve your eye health. They’re all about things that you can do to help prevent conditions and things to avoid helping slow down progression and signs of aging. These are simple steps that everyone can do on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.
Get Your Eyes Checked Every 1-2 Years
The number of times you’ll need to see an optician will depend on your age. The younger you are, the less you’ll have to book an appointment and it is possible to go every two years without seeing your optician as you get older, you’ll need to visit yearly for the best treatment. Your optician may also suggest yearly visits if you have a family history of some diseases or you’ve shown early warning signs of them. However, regardless of age, you should see your optician immediately if you feel your vision has changed or there are symptoms linked to the health of your eye.
Visiting the optician isn’t just about checking your eyesight for glasses and contact lenses. Regular visits will help your optician see the warning signs early. Your optician will be able to make sure your contact lenses still fit properly and are healthy for the eyes. They’ll check the pressure in the eyes to make sure there’s not a build-up, which can be a sign of a disease like glaucoma. An optician can make sure there’s no need to refer you to a specialist.
Some people will need to be treated by an ophthalmologist. Your optician will explain why they believe you’re better treated by a specialist and it is usually linked to the progression of a disease or due to eye surgery being needed.
Of course, yearly visits will also help to make sure your eyesight is corrected properly. While your eyeglasses may feel comfortable, a small change may be needed. You may have developed astigmatism over time, which new glasses will need to be prescribed for.
Don’t put off a visit to the eye doctor. The best thing you can do is get the warning or earlier signs, making treatment and prevention much easier.
Stop Starring at Your Computer Screen So Much
Our lifestyles have changed considerably over the years. More recently, we’ve started staring at computer screens a lot, whether for work or for the phone. Computers, phones, TVs and more have LED screens that put our eyes under excess strain. They can cause headaches to get worse and affect your eyesight.
Computer screens have been linked to blurry vision and difficulty focusing on distances. They’re linked to eyestrain and dry eyes, along with the head, back and neck pain. The best thing you can do is give your eyes a break frequently.
The general rule is the 20/20/20 rules. Every 20 minutes, you should look at point 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This can help to ease your eyes and give the muscles a chance to relax. If you miss the 20-minute block, look away as soon as you remember. You can set up something called the Pomodoro timer, which will remind you to take a break.
Breaks from the computer screen aren’t just good for your eyes. You will improve your overall health. This is also a chance to get a little exercise, such as by doing some desk workouts. It’s worth taking a break for 15-20 minutes every two hours at least for good overall health.
Don’t just rely on the breaks to give your eyes a rest. You’ll also need to make sure your eyeglasses are appropriate for the computer screen. This will mean getting your eyes checked to make sure you don’t need glasses for the intermediate vision or computer use.
If your eyes feel dry, you may need to get some artificial tears. You can also help this by blinking more frequently to get the moisture in your eyes to move around. Your optician will be able to prescribe artificial tears where necessary.
The glare coming from the screen can also be a problem. If you work by a window, try to angle your desk so it doesn’t look directly at the window or so the sun coming through doesn’t cause an issue. You may need to invest in anti-glare screen covers for your computer screen. Excess glare will cause you to squint and strain your eyes to see.
Protect Your Eyes from the Sun and Damage
Sunglasses aren’t just to look good in the summer. They also help to protect your eyes from damage from the sun’s UV rays. You will need to make sure you get the right type of sunglasses to help protect your eyes.
Look out for sunglasses that offer protection against both the UVA and UVB rays. The two types of rays can lead to signs of aging, cancer, burning and some eye damage. Too much exposure to any type of UV rays can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts, and more problems. Look at investing in polarized sunglasses when you drive to help reduce the glare as well as the UV rays. These sunglasses are also important when you drive in the rainy or snowy weather, as the glare can be worse than on a dry road!
Even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection, you should look at sunglasses. They will help to reduce the strain on your eyes from the glare, while also protecting the whole eye. The contact lenses only sit over the retina. You have an eyeball that will need protection, too.
Sunglasses aren’t the only important piece of protection for your eyes. You should also investigate safety eyewear for tasks. This is especially if you work around airborne or hazardous materials. Your workplace should provide either the eye equipment or offer vouchers, so you can arrange to have safety glasses made with your prescription. Talk to your HR department about this.
If you play sports, consider looking into safety glasses and protective face masks. This is especially the case for the likes of hockey, lacrosse, and football. The puck, ball and other players can lead to damage of the eye without the protective layer. Good sports safety goggles and glasses will have polycarbonate lenses since they won’t shatter.
It’s also worth looking at getting goggles for swimming. The chlorine and other chemicals in the pool can be damaging to the eyes and make the vision worse. Never swim with your contact lenses in, as you can get a buildup of bacteria under the lens and into the eye.
Follow Orders for Contact Lens Use
Many people choose to wear contact lenses over eyeglasses. They are virtually invisible and often more practical. However, they can be misused, and this often leads to damage to the eyes.
When you first get contact lenses, your optician will explain the best practices. This will include how to clean them and the frequency to use them. One of the main pieces of advice is to have contact lens solution always. Don’t lick or run your contact lenses under the water, as this can lead to bacterial buildups underneath.
Overusing your contact lenses can also lead to eye health problems. Your eyes can become irritated and infected and there’s a high risk of developing ulcers. If your eyes feel tired or painful because of the contact lenses, the best thing you can do is remove them and store them safely. If it feels like there’s something on them, clean them with some solution and try again. If there’s still a problem, remove the contact lenses and give your eyes time to repair.
You may need to book an optician’s appointment. This will help you see how bad the damage is, get treatment if necessary and get professional advice on using your contact lenses in the future.
Sometimes the type of contact lenses you have isn’t suitable. This could be brand, but also whether you have dailies or monthlies. Just because your contact lenses are designed to sleep in doesn’t mean they’re good for your eyes all the time. You will still need to remove and clean them. Most contact lenses aren’t suitable for sleeping in.
Dailies will allow more oxygen into the eye and are only designed for 8-10 hours wear at the most. Monthlies can make the eyes feel drier after a full day’s wear and can pick up more particles by the end of the month, causing irritation in the eyes. Your optician will help you avoid this.
Eat a Diet That’s Good for the Eyes
It’s time to look at the type of food you eat. While there’s nothing that can avoid you ever getting eye problems, there are certain food groups and ingredients that you want to follow.
One of the first things you’ll need to do is get yourself checked for any health problems. Type II diabetes, epilepsy, and some other conditions can cause the eye pressure to increase and cause some eye problems and diseases. Your doctor will need to know if there’s a health problem or a family history of ones. Make sure you keep your diabetes or obesity under control through a healthy and balanced diet.
You can help to reduce the risk of a lot of eye problems by eating more lutein. This is a pigment found in the retina in a high concentration. The more lutein you get through your diet, the healthier your eyes will be. Studies show that lutein helps to protect against macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other conditions. It can also help to prevent the deterioration of the sight, reducing the need for stronger glasses.
The great news is that lutein is available in most vegetables and fruits. You’ll have heard that carrots will help you see in the dark. Well, they’re full of lutein and vitamin A, which have been linked to improving the eyesight and supporting the vision health, so carrots really can help you see in the dark. You can also get plenty of the right nutrients through collards, liver (and cod liver oil), Brussels sprouts, zucchinis, and other similar ingredients.
These vitamins and antioxidants can’t help to reverse most conditions. Unfortunately, when you are diagnosed with glaucoma or macular degeneration you can’t reverse or repair the eyes. However, the antioxidants and vitamins can help to prevent the conditions from getting worse, so they’re always worth adding to your diet.
Improve Your Overall Lifestyle
By adding more exercise into your day, you can also improve the health of your eyes. This is especially the case if you exercise your eyes lightly to help ease some of the muscle strain. You don’t need to do much. Some rolling of the eyes and blinking can help.
However, it’s not just about your exercise levels. You want to quit smoking if you do this. Smokers have a higher risk of developing macular degeneration, cataracts, and damaging their optic nerve. The more you smoke, the more risk you have but even casual smokers put their whole health at risk.
You’ll also want to reduce your stress levels. Stress leads to a lack of sleep, which will make your eye health weaker. If you don’t sleep enough, you can cause more strain on your eyes, make them drier and cause problems for your vision capabilities. Try resting your eyes for 10 minutes for every hour you spend reading a book, use a computer or look at the TV. It’s also worth spending time with your eyes closed and finding ways to reduce the stress levels.
Reducing your stress levels will help to improve your whole health. You lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health, which then leads to better eye health.
Look After Your Eyes
You only get one set of eyes. While there are stories of eye transplants, the honest situation is that once your eyes have deteriorated, that’s it. You’ll have to learn to live with the conditions. The best thing you can do is avoid the conditions from happening at all and improving your overall health. It’s worth it in the long term.