People rely on their eyesight more than any of the other senses. Be it reading documents, watching the TV, or driving on the road, your eyes affect the overall quality of life.
So, if you’re thankful for having good eyesight, ask yourself this: Are you doing everything in your power to keep your eyes healthy?
Having a 20-20 vision is a gift not everyone gets to enjoy. Some people have a poor vision from birth, while others end up in glasses as they age. This makes having a clear vision a lot more valuable.
Still, your DNA and age are only two or many factors that affect your sight. Certain habits can also change the way how your eyes work, either for the good or the bad.
Aside from using glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision, there are ways how you can make sure that you see everything clearly for longer. Making the following six changes in your lifestyle should save your eyesight:
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Fill your diet with foods rich in lutein, beta carotene, and Vitamins A and C to keep your eyes healthy. Some examples of these are sweet potatoes, papaya, butter, blueberries, grapes, apricot, and cod liver oil.
Also, don’t shy away from green leafy vegetables. Remember that spinach, kale, zucchini, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts are your best friends in keeping your eyes healthy and bright. Ophthalmologist Dr. Matthew Gardiner of the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary explained that these vegetables are rich in antioxidants that help reduce the risk of eyesight issues, such as:
- Cataracts – This is a condition where cloudiness forms on the eye’s lenses
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – This is an eye condition that affects the macula and causes loss of central vision.
Consuming foods that are good for your cardiovascular health can also aid in protecting your eyes. You should also keep the salt and saturated fat to a minimum and maintain moderate consumption of lean protein sources such as legumes, seeds, and nuts.
Another vital lifestyle change you can undergo to ensure your eye health is to stop smoking. Aside from a heap of other health benefits, swearing off tobacco can help you maintain perfect eyesight.
You see, smokers are at higher risk to suffer from eye inflammation and conditions like age-related macular degeneration compared to those who don’t smoke. The unhealthy habit has also been linked to cataract progression and has been found to increase your risk of going blind.
Shield Your Eyes
Physical eye shields also help ensure that your vision stays clear. When unprotected, your eyes tend to be more susceptible to ultraviolet rays from the sun, even on cloudy days. Too much UV exposure can cause several eye conditions ranging from cataracts to cancer.
There are two kinds of protection you can use to shield your eyes physically: sunglasses for filtering out UV rays and safety goggles to keep it safe from chemicals and small objects that could hurt it.
According to Dr. Gardiner, many people ignore the risk of scratching their corneas while performing certain activities like drilling and gardening. But not paying attention to the risks doesn’t change the fact that the possibility is still there. This is why you have to make sure that you wear safety glasses when performing activities that entail harsh chemicals or small projectiles that can end up flying into your eyes.
Relieve Dry Eyes
You can use artificial tears to help ease the gritty feeling you get when you have dry eyes. You can also use these eye drops when your vision starts to become a bit blurry. However, you must only use these products with the prescription of a medical practitioner.
It would also be best to give your eyes a chance to rest. Most of the time, dry eyes are the effect of staring at screens for too long. Since you’re too focused on what you’re watching or doing on your laptop or smart device, chances are you forget to blink, which leads to dry eyes.
To remedy this, make sure to take a break every couple of minutes. Look elsewhere and blink several times until your eyes start to relax. You can also close your eyes for several minutes to let it rest or set your sight on something green or far.
Practice Proper Contact Lens Maintenance
When keeping your eyes healthy, you should also keep any artificial lenses you use moist and clean. For contact lenses, you can do this using a contact lens solution. Remember not to reuse the solution and toss it out when it expires.
Some contact lenses have a short lifespan, so remember to replace them when the time comes. If you drop it on the counter or floor, replace it with a new one if you cannot clean it thoroughly.
Also, never handle your contacts with unwashed hands and avoid touching the opening of the lens solution with your hands. You must also make sure that your contact lens case is clean by sterilizing it regularly and keeping it away from air-borne germs.
Control Underlying Conditions
Some chronic medical issues can also cause problems in your eyesight. For instance, having poorly managed diabetes increases your risk of diabetic retinopathy, which is characterized by the swelling and bleeding of the retina. This chronic disease can also lead to retinal detachment and even blindness.
One way to deal with this condition, as well as other eye problems related to obesity like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, is through regular exercise. This is why it is crucial that you stay active. Commit to a 30-minute workout at least three times every week.
Get Your Eyes Checked Regularly
Like other parts of the body, having a regular eye check-up even if you do not feel anything wrong is one of the best ways you can keep it healthy. With periodic checking, you should be able to catch any potential problem with your eyesight even before it affects your vision.
Eye doctors recommend getting a comprehensive eye test once in two years before 70 years old. After that, make it an annual thing as older people are more susceptible to degenerating eyesight.
Keep Your Vision Clear
Looking forward, poor eyesight can lead to a less-than-ideal life. To avoid this, act now and practice eye-friendly habits to keep your vision clear even as you age. Consider the recommended lifestyle changes listed in this article to ensure your eye health, and share the knowledge with your friends and family.
Firas Saab is the Training Manager at Al Jaber Optical in Dubai, the leading optical and eyewear company in the UAE that offers a comprehensive range of eyewear and optical services across the board, through a wide range of modern optical products and facilities. Firas is an enthusiastic trainer with more than a decade in the retail and optical industry and has recently acquired HND in Business and Management in addition to his Optical qualifications.