Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
Vision problems and eye conditions can affect people of all ages. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your eyes—starting early in life. The following tips can help you keep them safe and healthy.
- Don’t smoke. This dangerous habit deprives your body of nutrients that are essential in preventing certain eye diseases. If you smoke and need help quitting, talk with your doctor.
- Enjoy your fruits and veggies. Eat at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. In particular, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale can benefit your eyes. These foods contain lutein—an antioxidant. This may reduce your risk of some eye conditions.
- Wear sunglasses. Exposing your eyes to too much sunlight may lead to cataracts. Make sure your sunglasses block out UVA and UVB rays. And, wear them every time you go outside—even on cloudy or overcast days.
- Protect against injury. Certain sports, jobs and activities put your eyes at risk for injury or irritation. Wear appropriate eye gear to help keep them safe.
- Practice good hygiene. Avoid touching your eyes. This can help prevent the spread of infections such as pinkeye. Also, don’t share eye drops, makeup or contact lens supplies with others.
- Take care of your contacts. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to keep them clean. Wash your hands before inserting or removing them. Don’t exceed recommended time limits for wearing your lenses. And, if you feel pain, remove them.
Getting your eyes checked is one of the best ways to help them stay healthy. Your eye care specialist can detect and treat diseases. He or she also can correct any vision changes you’ve experienced. Age, health, risk of developing eye diseases and other factors may influence how often you or your child should have an exam.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all children receive a vision screening to detect eye diseases prior to entering school. It’s preferred between ages 3 to 4 years. Periodic vision screening for all people ages 65 and older is recommended. If you have symptoms such as blurred vision, or risk factors for eye problems, ask your doctor how often you should have eye exams.
Remember, if you have sudden pain, sensitivity, discomfort, redness or blurred vision, see your doctor or eye care specialist right away.