It's amazing how often our eyes are overlooked (no pun intended!) We use them everyday, usually without thinking about it. With the introduction of screens in our daily lives, and the ever-increasing exposure to UV rays from the sun, it's important to be aware of your eye health and facilitate the necessary habits to protect your eyes, and their longevity.
1. TAKE A BREAK FROM YOUR SCREEN
This may seem obvious, but it often gets pushed to the side or completely ignored. While certain circumstances may be unavoidable (you may need to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day for work,) it's still important to give your eyes a rest.
Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to rest from the constant blue light coming from your screen.
2. WEAR SUNGLASSES
Even on a cloudy day, the UVA/UVB rays from the sun can do some damage. In fact, during overcast, 80% of the UV rays from the sun pass through the clouds. This is a substantial amount, and explains why you can get a sunburn with no direct sun.
Wearing Sunglasses will help prevent cataracts and reduce eyestrain during all months of the year. They don't need to be fancy, or exceptionally expensive, they just need to indicate UV Protection.
Pro tip: When choosing sunglasses, look for stickers to indicate UV protection, UV 400 or lenses that block 99-100% of the sun's UV rays.
3. KNOW YOUR EYE HEALTH HISTORY
It could take a simple phone call, or a visit with your parents/grandparents. The information you'd receive is invaluable. Many eye diseases are hereditary and can be prevented with proper care.
There are more than 350 hereditary eye diseases, many of which can lead to permanent blindness.
Prevention can minimize the impact of eye diseases if caught early enough.
That's why it's so important to know your history. Knowing what to look for can have a substantial positive impact when it comes to treatment.
4. INCLUDE EYE HEALTHY FOODS IN YOUR DIET
We all know it's important to eat healthy. And I'm sure you've heard about carrots being good for your eyes. But did you know there are plenty of foods available that can help your eyes?
Foods containing Vitamin C, (papaya, red bell pepper, kiwi, strawberries, and oranges,) or anti-oxidants, such as lutein or beta-carotene, (spinach, sweet potato, carrots, squash, kale and broccoli,)
can help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness.
5. GET CHECKED REGULARLY
Many eye diseases have no detectable or obvious symptoms. Your eye care specialist can detect and help prevent many issues before they become serious. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that children have their first eye exam between ages 6 and 9 months, and annually after that. As a general rule, adults, should have an eye exam every 2 years, or as directed by their optometrist.
By Hoedeman Optical