Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes.
- Get a comprehensive eye exam. You may think your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional is the only way to be sure. Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.
- Know your family's eye health history. Since many eye disease or conditions are hereditary, this information will help you determine if you are at risk.
- Eat right to protect your sight. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale or collard greens, is important for keeping your eyes healthy. Research has shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut.
- Quit smoking or never start. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage - all of which can lead to blindness.
- Be cool and wear your shades. Look for sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
- Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. 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.
- Clean your contact lenses properly. To avoid infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect and/or replace contact lenses as instructed.
- Practice workplace eye safety. When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times and encourage your co-workers to do the same.
Source: National Eye Institute
Here are a few tips for finding a local eye care professional:
- Ask family members and friends about eye care professionals they use.
- Ask your family doctor for the name of a local eye care specialist.
- Call the department o ophthalmology or optometry at a nearby hospital or medical center.
- Contact your local association of ophthalmologists or optometrists.
- Contact your insurance company or health plan for a list of eye care professionals covered under your plan.