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March 7, 2018
March is National Save Your Vision Month! Over 20 million Americans suffer from severe vision loss. Poor vision can make it difficult to do daily tasks such as reading, driving and cooking. As we grow older, vision problems become more prevalent, which makes it very important to begin taking preventative measures from a young age. Although not all vision problems can be prevented, many can be treated if caught early. Taking care of your eyes can also benefit your overall health. Follow these seven tips to preserve, protect and take care of your eyes.
- Eat right to protect your sight. Eating a well-balanced diet can help keep your eyes healthy. Super foods like salmon, blueberries, and other fruits and leafy greens like spinach, kale and collard greens are packed full of nutrients that are great for your eyes. Fish like salmon, tuna and halibut are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease the risk of developing glaucoma, macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome.
- Exercise. Regular physical activity can help protect your eyesight. Getting thirty minutes per day of physical exercise benefits so many parts of your body and life, from your heart to increasing your day-to-day energy. It also helps prevent eye diseases linked to diabetes and moderate exercise can be a factor in glaucoma prevention. Something as simple as going for a walk three times during the week can lower your intraocular pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve.
- Be in tune with your eyes. Have you noticed changes in your vision? Do you have trouble seeing certain things or is your vision blurry? If your eyes are bothering you, be sure to schedule an appointment with your Midwest Eye Consultants eye doctor, so he or she can assess if you have any changes in your prescription. Keeping up on annual eye health exams is important to assess how your eyes are working together and to evaluate your eyes for overall health.
- Wear your shades. The sun’s rays can impact your eyesight and eye health. Some of the sun’s effects on the eyes include cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium (a tissue growth over the white part of the surface of the eye that can alter the curve of the eyeball, which causes astigmatism). Be sure to choose sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV radiation.
- Let your eyes rest. Many of us spend hours every day looking at a screen for work, school or watching your favorite television show in the evenings. This can strain your eyes and cause other effects on the body such as headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain and dry eyes. Be sure to follow the 20/20/20 rule to give your eyes a rest. Every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking is related to many adverse health effects, which include age-related macular degeneration. Studies have shown that smokers and those who have quit smoking are more likely to develop AMD than people who never smoked. Smoking also puts you at an increased risk of developing cataracts.
- Protect your eyes. More than two million eye injuries occur every year. Eye injuries can happen during sports and home projects. Proper eyewear should be worn during these activities to keep your eyes protected and prevent injury. Ask your Midwest Eye Consultants optometrist about what you should be wearing to protect your eyes during the activities you participate in.