Family Living Focus: Tips for Healthy Eyes
Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these steps for maintaining healthy vision well into your later years.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy balanced diet is important for your overall health and wellbeing. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, or collard greens can help to keep your eyes healthy and disease free. Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes. This increases your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma, which can eventually lead to vision loss.
Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The best sunglasses are those that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Sun exposure is associated with developing cataract and age-related macular degeneration
Wear protective eyewear such as goggles and safety glasses, shields, and eye guards when playing sports or doing activities around the house. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics.
Smoking is bad for your eyes and the rest of your body. Smoking increases the risk of developing age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataract, and can damage the optic nerve.
Family Health History
Talk to your family about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are inherited. This will help you determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.
Know Your Risk Factors
As you get older, you are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions. These include age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic eye disease, and glaucoma. Knowing your risk factors is important because you may be able to lower your risk by changing some behaviors.
Keep Your Hands and Contact Lenses Clean
To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect them as instructed and replace them as appropriate.
Give Your Eyes a Rest
If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you can forget to blink your eyes and your eyes can get tired. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.
Information adapted from article from NIH Senior Health, National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
If you would like more information on “Tips for Healthy Eyes” feel free to contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus – University of Minnesota at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.