Eyesight is perhaps the most treasured and fragile of the human senses. Take care of your eyes and do all you can to protect this precious gift by preventing eye diseases and accidents.
Preventing Eye Diseases
- Get regular eye exams. Early detection and treatment is vital to managing eye diseases that have no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Eye exams can also help identify other health issues like diabetes.
- Understand how aging affects your eyes. Vision deteriorates with age and we become more prone to eye disease, but by taking care of your eyes, you can help slow down or reverse this process. Early treatment can prevent or reverse vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk for AMD and eye cancers. If you’re finding it difficult to quit on your own, talk with your doctor to develop a cessation plan that will work for you.
- Eat a balanced diet. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E help protect your eyes from some of the effects of aging. Eat your carrots plus lots of leafy green vegetables and fruits.
- Shield your eyes from the sun. Your eyes need protection from the sun just as your skin does. Excessive exposure can cause cancer and cataracts. Wear sunglasses and hats year round.
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations. Managing diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are important for your eyes as well as your overall wellbeing. If you have any of these conditions, your doctor can instruct you on treatments and lifestyle changes.
Preventing Eyestrain and Injuries
- Understand the myths about eyestrain. You can stop worrying that looking at your television or computer will ever make you go blind. Your eyes will just get tired and recover after a little rest. Still, you can minimize strain by wearing your eyeglasses as prescribed and taking frequent breaks.
- Stay safe at work. Assess your work area for any potential hazards like heavy machinery that could be screened off. Use protective eyewear even if you’re just passing through a location where injuries could occur.
- Take precautions at home. Be careful around toxic chemicals, power tools and lawnmowers. Wear protective eyewear or keep a safe distance away. Remember lawnmowers can throw stones.
- Protect your eyes during sports and recreational activities. Get the appropriate safety equipment for your favorite activities whether you need ski goggles or a baseball helmet with a face shield. Consider having your eyeglass prescription incorporated into your sports eye wear.
- Teach your kids good safety habits. Eye injuries are most common among people under the age of 25. Discuss safety at home and ensure your child has the proper equipment at school for sports or woodworking class.
- Select the right safety glasses. Safety glasses made with glass, plastic or polycarbonate lenses can all be designed to meet or exceed the requirements for their recommended uses. Polycarbonate lenses are often recommended because they’re stronger and more impact resistant than glass or plastic.
- Treat injuries immediately. All eye injuries should be examined by an ophthalmologist as soon as possible because the damage many not be immediately apparent. In case of chemical exposure, resist the natural urge to shut your eye. Flush with water and get immediate medical attention.
Good vision is important to your overall health and to living independently for as long as possible. Get regular eye exams and prevent eye injuries so you can continue seeing the people and things you love.