Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

May 2, 2016
Tips to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

None of us would want to go a single day without vision. Surprisingly, however, those who prize eyesight the most seem to do little to protect it. According to a recent survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA), 85 percent of Americans value eyesight over all other senses. That said, less than half of those respondents had visited the eye doctor for an exam in two to three years. If you want to keep seeing clearly as you age, learn how to promote eye health and avoid potential problems down the road.
Get Regular Eye Exams
Numerous optical diseases fester within the eyes without impacting your 20/20 vision. This gives them an opportunity to do serious damage before they are recognized. Early detection is critical to successful treatment. To catch problems in their infant stages, all adults, especially those over the age of 40, should get annual eye exams. This can help prevent age-related ocular conditions including cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Children should also begin getting exams at between 6 and 12 months, since minor vision problems can impede learning potential.
Give Your Doctor an Accurate Medical History
A number of health problems can impact vision, including heart disease and diabetes. Be sure to share all of your medical history with your eye doctor, including any specific supplements or medications you may be taking.
Take Breaks from Computers
If you work with a computer, reduce eye strain by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes look approximately 20 feet in the distance for 20 full seconds. You should also try to blink more frequently, since people tend to blink about half as much when working on computers.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Sunlight doesn't just impact our skin. A lifetime of UV light exposure can also increase the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. You can drastically reduce your risk by wearing sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
Wear Eye Protection
Whether you're pouring chemicals or using power tools, the risk of eye damage is very real. Protect yourself by wearing safety goggles when appropriate. You should also keep saline solution at home, so you can thoroughly rinse if you get soap or cleansers in your eyes.
Change Out Your Contacts
If you wear the same disposable contacts longer than three months, your risk of eye infections increases dramatically. Promote better eye health by swapping out your contacts every eight to ten weeks.
When to See a Doctor
Infrequent eye irritation isn't uncommon; however, certain symptoms could point to serious problems. If you experience unexplained, prolonged redness, itching, swelling, burning, pain, trauma, spots, flashes, floaters or blurry vision, get a thorough examination from your optometrist.

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