Protecting the health of your eyes is one of the most important ways you can help maintain your quality of life. It’s easy to take for granted, but your vision can be damaged by injury, disease or – most common of all – age. One in six adults over the age of 45 experience some degree of sight-threatening problems. Fortunately, there are things anyone can do to help prevent loss of vision. All About Vision has shared these 9 ways to protect your eyesight:
- Learn your risk for eye diseases. Early diagnosis for eye diseases reduces the risk or severity of vision loss from a sight-threatening disease. Only regular eye exams can help track their progress. Factors that increase your risk for certain eye diseases include a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure, being over the age of 65 or having African-American heritage and being over the age of 40.
- Schedule regular physical exams. Your overall health affects your vision so it’s important to be regularly screened for diabetes and high blood pressure to avoid conditions like diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.
- Watch for warning signs. Has your vision changed noticeably? Do you have hazy vision, problems seeing in low light or double vision? These, plus symptoms like flashes of light, floaters, eye pain or swelling may be indicators of serious eye health issues. See your eye doctor immediately if these occur.
- Exercise. Even your eyes will benefit from regular physical activity because it may reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration by up to 70%.
- Wear shades. No matter the season, it’s important to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun to help prevent problems like cataracts.
- Protect your eyes. Playing sports, working with tools or even riding a bike can put your eyes in danger of injury. Wear safety goggles, swimming goggles or available shields anytime you can.
- Focus on balanced nutrition. Chose antioxidant-rich foods like fruit and dark green or colorful vegetables to reduce your risk for cataracts. Eating fish full of omega-3 fatty acids reduces your risk for developing macular degeneration. Supplemental eye vitamins are available to ensure the health of your eyes.
- Have your eyes checked every two years (at least). Not only will your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses be up to date, at a regular comprehensive eye exam you can also be checked for major eye diseases and discuss your risk factors with your doctor.
- Don’t smoke. Smokers have an increased risk for developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Protect your vision and enjoy the life you love.