Eye health and eye care should not be underestimated!
For some reason, we don’t give the same focus and attention to eye care as we do to the rest of our body. The truth is, eyes and eyesight are an integral component of overall health, and one might say, much more important than we give credit. As we age, the emphasis on healthy eyes should actually be amplified. Indeed, there are many ways to keep the eyes healthy, to keep eyesight at an optimal level, and to “keep an eye” on changes, symptoms and signs. The main thing is to take personal responsibility and a proactive approach, regardless of your age.
The most important element when it comes to proper eye care is the annual exam. Having an in-depth “dilated eye” exam performed by an eye care professional is essential. An exam not only addresses common vision problems, it also checks for warning signs and symptoms that may not be so obvious. In fact, many of the common eye diseases, like glaucoma and macular degeneration, will often present with early symptoms. And early detection is absolutely vital for accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. Quite simply – better safe than sorry.
Your eye care professional can do it all, but the ultimate responsibility for eye health is in the patient’s hands. Here, then, are basic guidelines that are easy to understand and easy to apply.
Your family’s eye-health history
Make sure you know (and tell your eye care professional) about any family eye-health history. Many diseases or conditions can be hereditary, and your risk factors should be known.
A good diet can protect your eyes
Eating a high proportion of fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, is a good start. Recent research has shown that foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids make a good contribution.
Make sure to keep a healthy weight
Being overweight is just plain bad for your overall health. But the risk of getting diabetes can potentially lead to vision problems like diabetic eye disease. Prevention is key to avoidance.
Always wear some protective eye gear
Whether you’re playing a sport or renovating the house, wear some protective eye gear. You can choose from safety glasses, goggles, safety shields, or eye guards – but choose something.
If you smoke – quit smoking immediately
It’s much less known, but smoking has been related to increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (as well as optic nerve damage). Why take the risk – quit it, once and for all.
Sunglasses are fundamental to eye health
Beyond fashion, sunglasses protect the eyes from the ultraviolet rays that are emitted by the sun. Shop for sunglasses that block out 99-100% of the UV-A and UV-B rays.
Eyeballs need a rest, just like the rest of you
If you are working at a computer, it’s easy to get fatigued – and that includes your brain, your shoulders, and your eyes. A good rule is too look away every 20 minutes – and for 20 seconds.
The key to optimum eye health is to take personal responsibility – in other words, make sure to “keep an eye” on your eyes.