Your overall health and your eye health are connected; taking care of yourself will also help maintain your vision. Many studies have shown that exercise and a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables can protect against blinding eye diseases, but you shouldn’t wait until you’re having problems with your vision to take care of your health.
Long-term exposure to the sun can increase the risk of eye disease, including cataracts, macular degeneration and growth in the eye. Wearing sunglasses – even when it’s cloudy – can block 99% to 100% of harmful UVA and UVB radiation. Learn how to choose the right pair of sunglasses.
Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. It also makes dry eye syndrome worse and raises the risk for cardiovascular diseases, which can affect your eye health.
Be Aware of Eye Fatigue
Spending a lot of time at the computer or looking at your phone may cause you to forget to blink, which can tire out your eyes. While eye fatigue won’t damage your vision, if it persists, it may be a sign that something else is wrong, such as dry eye syndrome or presbyopia.
Take Proper Care of Eyeglasses & Contact Lenses
To keep your eyeglasses in optimal condition, it’s important to take care of them. Always lay your glasses down with the lenses facing up, store your glasses in a case when you’re not using them and clean your glasses frequently and correctly.
Taking proper care of your contact lenses and wearing them correctly is important for avoiding a serious eye infection. Always wash your hands before touching your lenses, use new solution each time you clean, disinfect and store your lenses, do not sleep, swim or shower in your lenses and don’t wear them past the time allotted by your eye doctor.
Sleep Well, See Well
Sleeping helps your eyes get the moisture and lubrication they need. And during sleep, your eyes will clear out irritants such as dust and allergens that have accumulated throughout the day.
When you’re over 40 years old, your eyes will begin to change. Here are some things you can do to maintain your eye health in midlife.
Keep Systemic Health Problems in Check
Systematic health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes can also affect your eye health. Make sure you tell your eye doctor about your health conditions, your medications, any nutritional supplements you are taking, and if you notice your ability to see clearly is often changing.
Relieve Dry Eye
Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when they don’t produce the right kind of tears, and it becomes more common as you age. It can be treated with over the counter drops or with prescription lubricants, and by using a warm compress and massaging your eyes for relief. You may also want to talk to your eye doctor about procedures that help preserve your eyes’ natural tears.
Because your eyes need oxygen and blood circulation, regular exercise helps to keep your eyes healthy. Beneficial exercise for your eyes can be as vigorous as running or playing sports, or as gentle as walking or doing yoga.
Content adapted from the American Academy of Ophthalmology