Tips for Healthy Eyes

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 27-Feb-2014

Do you consider eye health part of your overall health? Healthy eyes play a critical role in how we learn, communicate, work and play. Without healthy eyes, even simple daily tasks such as driving or working around the house become difficult. You can keep your eyes in good shape by scheduling regular eye exams, watching your nutrition and wearing eye protection when needed.

Importance of an eye exam

Though healthy eyes are an important component of overall health, many people overlook the health of their eyes and don’t keep up with routine eye exams. Some vision impairments are entirely preventable—as long as you maintain regular eye screenings.

It is often during routine exams that eye conditions become apparent. For example, a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts

These diseases often have no symptoms in the early stages. Detecting one of these conditions during an eye exam could make the difference between keeping your vision and experiencing at least partial vision loss.

Importance of nutrition

Nutrition is another important factor in keeping your eyes healthy. Proper nutrition can prevent vision loss due to one of several eye conditions, as well as night vision problems, dry eyes and even eye infections. There are several nutrients that are essential for good eye health. The “must-haves” for healthy eyes are:

Vitamin A: Helps prevent night vision problems, dry eyes, eye infections, cataracts and macular degeneration.

Carotenoids: Help protect the retina from damage by the sun’s rays; help prevent macular degeneration. (Lutein and zeaxathin are two carotenoids that are particularly good for your eyes.)

Vitamin C: An antioxidant that helps reduce risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Vitamin E: Another antioxidant that can also help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Zinc: An antioxidant that helps the body absorb vitamin A. It has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and night blindness.

Importance of eye protection

The human eye is extremely delicate and vulnerable to damage from the sun and injury. Eye damage can result in permanent vision loss but it is entirely preventable.

The sun emits powerful UVA and UVB rays, which can have dangerous effects on the eyes. UV rays can increase your risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and even cancer of the eye. The best way to protect your eyes from sun damage is to wear sunglasses.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 42,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year; 72 percent of these injuries occur in people younger than 25. Eye injury can lead to blindness, and many times, injuries to the eye are entirely preventable.

Use these tips to protect your eyes from sun damage or other injury:

  • Look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. (Wraparound sunglasses are ideal, as they will also block rays from entering from the side.) UV protection has nothing to do with how dark the tint of your sunglasses is.
  • Wear sunglasses even on cloudy days. Though clouds may eliminate brightness, UV rays can still pass through the clouds and cause damage to your eyes.
  • Pay attention to peak sun times. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10AM and 2PM. It is best to avoid being outdoors during these hours. If you must be outside during peak sun, always wear proper protection.
  • Wear protective eyewear when playing sports such as racquetball and lacrosse. Hockey and football players as well as catchers in baseball and softball should wear face shields (cages or polycarbonate shields) to protect their eyes from injury caused by contact with a ball, puck or another athlete’s body.
  • If you work in construction or another industry where your eyes are exposed to debris, gases or other matter, wear protective goggles.

Your eye health is largely in your control. You can prevent vision loss by keeping up with regular eye exams, eating healthy and wearing sunglasses and protective eyewear to shield your eyes from sun damage or a sports or work-related injury.

Categories: Eye Health
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