Most of us rely on our eyesight more than any other sense. Even when we use our hearing to listen to something, our nose to smell something, tongue to taste or hands to feel, we nearly always then rely on our vision to back up what we are experiencing. If and when issues with our eyesight start to develop, it can have a significant impact on the quality of our lives and many things that we used to take for granted become harder and more frustrating. This is particularly the case for progressive vision problems that will always get worse without treatment.
Glasses, contact lenses or even laser vision correction are obvious ways to improve your vision and enable you to see more clearly in your day-to-day life. However, there are also a number of other things that you can do that will support your overall eye health and that could reduce your risk of experiencing vision problems now or in the future.
Most of us know that we have to eat a nutritious, balanced diet to optimize our overall health and wellbeing. However, there are some nutrients that are proven to be particularly beneficial for eye health. These include omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, lutein and vitamins C & E, which have been shown to counteract vision problem like macular degeneration and cataracts. You can find them in foods such as:
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is also important for weight maintenance. Obesity has been linked with an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes – a metabolic condition that can also lead to diabetic retinopathy which is a leading cause of vision loss.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that smoking is bad for our health, but did you know that it is particularly bad news for your eyes? The reason for this is that smoking restricts the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, reducing the amount of oxygenated blood and nutrients that reach the blood vessels that serve the eyes and keep them healthy.
Studies show that people who smoke are more likely to suffer from a range of sight-threatening conditions including macular degeneration and cataracts. If you need help to kick the habit, speak to your doctor about smoking cessation treatment.
Our eyes are extremely delicate and can be easily damaged or injured. This means that one of the best ways you can protect your long-term vision is to make sure you protect your eyes from hazards. Wearing sunglasses will help to protect your eyes from UV damage from the sun, which can even penetrate cloud cover. Choose a variety that block out at least 99% of UVA and UVB light.
You should also be sure to protect your eyes when you are involved in activities where they could potentially be injured, such as when playing sport or doing jobs like woodworking, decorating or handling chemicals. Your eye doctor will be happy to recommend the best protective eyewear for you based on your needs.
We spend more time looking at digital devices than ever before, and this can cause a range of symptoms that affect your eyes, including:
These are all signs of digital eye strain and mean that you are using your device for too long and should take more frequent breaks. Other signs of digital eye strain include headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain, and trouble sleeping. Try following the 20/20/20 rule – for every 20 minutes of use, look away from the screen for at least 20 seconds and focus on something that is at least 20 feet away. This will help your eye focus relax. Get up and walk around too.
Everyone is recommended to have an eye exam at least once every two years, even if they don’t wear prescription eyewear. This is to enable your eye doctor to monitor the health of your eyes and your vision, so that any issues can be detected, diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. This is especially important since many of the most serious eye diseases only cause very subtle symptoms that are easily overlooked.
For more tips on things you can do for better vision, visit Natural State Eyecare at our office in Little Rock, Arkansas. You can also call (501) 295-4011 to book an appointment today.