Expert Blogs | Eye Health
What I Wish People Knew About Eye Health
photo of optometrist doing sight testing

You might think because you see well with your glasses or contacts, or even without correction, that you don’t have any eye problems. However, there are lots of eye conditions that are silent or don’t have any warning signs until your vision is lost.

So even if you see well, it is important that you get your eyes checked on a regular basis to prevent problems from occurring. According to the National Eye Institute, there are several tips to keep you seeing well and keep your eyes healthy.

Eat Right

Make healthy food choices rich in antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. These are your colorful fruits and veggies, especially berries and green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Foods that are high in omega-3, like salmon and tuna, are also great nutrients for the eyes.

Keep Your Body Healthy

Get regular exercise and move daily to keep your weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure in the normal range. Please do not smoke, as this increases your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration, not to mention causing other health problems.

Have Good Hand Hygiene

Avoid rubbing your eyes, and keep your hands away from your face. It’s easy to transmit germs, including viruses, into the eyes, possibly causing infection. It’s especially important to keep your hands clean if you wear contact lenses.

Call Your Eye Doctor if Your Vision Changes

Don’t wait if you have a sudden or even gradual loss of vision in one or both eyes. This could signal that there’s an eye problem that should be detected as early as possible. You might also need a new or change in your prescription.

Wear Your Prescribed Glasses or Contact Lenses

Discuss with your eye doctor what interval of care you need for glasses and contact lenses. Most states have laws that cause your prescriptions to expire yearly. Don’t try to extend or stretch that! Eyestrain and other eye symptoms could develop if the prescriptions are not up to date.

Always Think About Eye Safety

Wear protective eyewear for any high-risk activity, from mowing the lawn to playing tennis or racquetball. The orbital socket is just about the size where small balls can fit between the bones, causing blunt force trauma to the eye, including the retina. Foreign bodies and corneal abrasions are also unfortunately common when people do yard work, gardening, etc., without eye protection.

Protect Your Eyes From UV Light

We know that UV light rays can affect the eyes in many ways, including an increased risk for cataracts and macular degeneration. Spending time outside is both healthy and fun, but just like needing sunscreen, you also should wear good quality sunglasses that block all UV rays. If you are really light-sensitive, adding a polarization option will also help with glare control.

Watch Computer and Device Use

We are all on our phones and computers a lot these days, but it’s important to take frequent breaks to avoid symptoms like eyestrain, headache, and dry eye. Follow the 20/20/20 rule where every 20 minutes, look up at a distant object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

Know Your Family History

Ask family members about any eye problems they may have. Some conditions do have a genetic pattern, so it’s important to know your family history. Plus, everyone in the family can keep their eyes healthy if you talk about it!

Get Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exams

Go at the appropriate interval recommended by your eye doctor. Discuss what that interval is for you and your family!

For more information about healthy vision tips, go here.




Photo Credit: AndreyPopov / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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Susan A. Primo, OD, MPH, FAAO

Susan A. Primo, OD, MPH, FAAO

Optometrist, professor, and clinician

Susan A. Primo, OD, MPH, FAAO, is professor of ophthalmology and director of optometry and vision rehabilitation services at the Emory University Eye Center in Atlanta. She has been a practicing optometrist for over 35 years. Believing that strategic public health approaches to address visual impairment and loss are desperately needed, Primo completed her MPH degree to help combat this problem. Her goal is to increase access to primary eye care services, especially in underserved communities, to reduce the burden of preventable vision loss and to improve the quality of life for those who may have lost vision.

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