Our eyes are some of our most active body parts – they are constantly taking in new information about the world around us. Even if you have perfect vision, it’s important to take steps to protect your eyes. Here are eight things you can do all year to keep your eyes healthy.
1. Schedule a yearly eye exam.
Even if you feel that your vision is fine, a yearly eye exam can help ensure your eyes are healthy. There are many eye conditions that do not have symptoms, and an eye exam may be the only way to know if something is amiss. Many health plans include vision benefits that cover a yearly eye exam. Check with your health plan to see if this perk is available to you.
2. Eat healthy and stay active.
Eating right and exercising can have benefits for your eyes in addition to the rest of your body. Getting regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent you from developing certain conditions like diabetes or obesity that put you at greater risk for eye conditions. The same goes for eating a well-balanced diet – dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach and fish high in omega-3s like salmon and tuna are filled with nutrients that are especially beneficial for your eyes.
3. Quit smoking.
In addition to many other adverse health effects, smoking can be harmful to your eyes. It can harm the optic nerve and increases your risk of certain eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Ready to quit? Check out these cessation resources.
4. Rock some shades.
Sunglasses not only make you look super rad, they help protect your eyes from the sun! When choosing some shades, be sure to select a pair that block 99% or 100% of UVA and UVB rays from the sun. And remember, even with sunglasses on, you should never look directly at the sun.
5. Use protective eyewear as necessary.
Handling some chemicals at work or in science class? Working on home repairs? Hitting the slopes to ski or snowboard? No matter the activity, use proper eye protection. Protective goggles may not always be the most fashionable, but they protect your eyes from serious harm. If completing an activity where protective eye wear is recommended, be sure to comply.
6. Give your eyes a break from screens.
Many of us spend a significant amount of time each day staring at screens. Whether it’s for work, school, or entertainment, too much screen time can cause damage to your eyes. Every 20 minutes, give yourself a break by looking at something other than your screen that is 20 feet away (or more) for 20 seconds.
7. Wash your hands before touching your eyes.
Your hands touch countless surfaces each day – and each of these surfaces, no matter how clean, likely have some germs on it. Keep those germs from entering your eyes by washing your hands each time you need to put them in your eyes. This will help limit the spread of germs and keep you and your eyes healthy.
8. Learn more about your family’s health history.
Certain eye conditions can run in families, such as glaucoma. Talk to your family members to see if they’ve ever experienced issues with their eyes or vision to see if you’re more at risk for developing certain conditions.