According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 20 million Americans suffer from severe vision loss. While not all eye diseases are preventable, there are little things you can do throughout the day to help protect one of your body’s most essential organs.
Keep Your Body Healthy
Everything in your body is interconnected, so what happens to one part can easily affect another. The National Eye Institute suggests these healthy habits to keep your eyes sharp.
- Eat Right – It’s not a total myth that eating carrots will improve your eyes. Every part of your body needs certain nutrients to develop properly and stay healthy. To keep your eyes in check, eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids. Research has found that dark leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are key to maintaining eye health.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight – Those who are overweight or obese could be at risk of developing diabetes and other health issues that can affect eye health. These conditions can lead to vision loss through diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. Talk to a doctor if you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
- Don’t Smoke – As bad as smoking is for your lungs and other vital organs, research has shown that smoking increases your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage that could eventually lead to blindness.
Know Your Family History
By 2020, 43 million people are expected to suffer from age-related eye diseases. Many of these diseases tend to be passed down in families. It’s important to talk to your family members about their medical histories so you can be prepared. The following conditions can have a genetic component:
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Minimize Eye Strain
Many people suffer from eye fatigue but don’t realize it. Humans normally blink 15 times per minute, but while looking at a digital screen, that number drops significantly to about 7 times per minute.3 If your eyes start to feel dry and tired while staring at a computer screen, it’s a good idea to use artificial tears to refresh your eyes.
You can also prevent fatigue using the “20-20-20” rule. For every 20 minutes you look at a screen, shift your eyes to stare at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or longer.
Other ways to minimize eye strain are to sit 25 inches from your screen, reduce glare on your screen, adjust your room lighting and increase the screen contrast.
Take Preventative Measures
Did you know nearly half of all eye injuries occur at home? A study from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma found that more than 40 percent of eye injuries were caused by projects like home repairs, yard work, cleaning and even cooking!
More than 78 percent of people in the study reported not wearing eyewear at the time of the injury. Just as you would wear a hard hat at a construction site, it is also recommended you wear safety glasses when working with potentially dangerous materials.
Have Your Eyes Checked Regularly
Above all else, it is crucial to get your eyes checked annually. Most serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma and AMD, are best treated early. When left untreated, these diseases could cause vision loss and even blindness.
When visiting an eye specialist, it is important to know what kind of exam is best for you. Many places offer different levels of exams, from standard eye exams to exams designed to identify specific conditions. It is important to ensure you are seeing the right provider for your condition and treatment.
Schedule an Eye Exam at St. Hope Foundation
Have things seemed a little blurry lately? The Vision Program at St. Hope Foundation is the ultimate boutique vision service, providing an intimate setting that caters to your specific vision needs. Don’t wait for your vision to worsen – call us at 713.778.1300 to schedule your appointment with our vision experts today.