Between visits to the dentist, most people brush their teeth, and some even remember to floss, and of course we try to take steps to stay healthy between our annual physical exams. When it comes to how to take care of our eyes, though, many people are in the dark. While most Americans know that annual eye exams are the most important step we can take to care for our eyes, only 46% actually get them. Even fewer people know the steps they can take on their own to ensure a lifetime of healthy vision. At Complete Eye Care, we’re committed to improving our patients’ eye health, and that includes keeping them informed. Here are some things you can do between visits to keep your eyes strong and healthy.
1. Protect Your Eyes From Injury and Strain
From sports to chores to various jobs, our daily lives can make us vulnerable to eye injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 90% of workplace eye injuries could be prevented by wearing proper protective gear. The same is true for the nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries each year. Whenever you’re doing an activity that leaves your eyes vulnerable to debris, chemicals, or other harmful contact, it’s important to wear appropriate eye protection. That includes wearing effective sunglasses outside. With 70% of adults reporting digital eye strain, it’s also important to give our eyes a break when using screens. You can combat this strain with blue-light blocking lenses, and by following the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at a point about 20 feet away from you.
2. Practice Appropriate Lens Habits
For people who wear contact lenses, preventing eye infections is an important precaution to take. Every time you put your lenses in, or take them out, thoroughly wash your hands. Avoid sleeping in your contacts and make sure to replace them as advised. People who wear glasses need to make sure they wear them as prescribed to prevent strain and worsening vision. As with contact lenses, it’s important to keep glasses clean to maintain their function and prevent infection.
3. Eat Eye-Healthy Foods
Our diets can have a huge impact on our vision. In fact, eating eye-healthy foods can reduce the risk of declining vision by 25%. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, nuts and seeds give a major boost to your eye health. The beta carotene found in carrots and sweet potatoes helps your retinas absorb light. Beef and eggs contain a variety of nutrients that can help reduce age-related sight loss. Dehydration is a major player in impaired eye health as well, so make sure to drink plenty of water.
4. Quit Smoking
Nicotine use, including vaping, is extremely detrimental to vision. It restricts production of the chemical “rhodopsin” which is necessary for night vision. Smoking also increases the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, which can both contribute to blindness. Cigarettes also contain carcinogens which put the whole body, including our eyes, at risk.
5. Know What Symptoms To Watch
Keeping track of how our eyes feel and function, and knowing what to look out for, is an essential part of maintaining our eye health. When worrisome symptoms pop up, it’s important not to wait to seek care. Some symptoms to watch for include:
– Eye Pain
– Decrease in vision or in one or both eyes
– Distorted vision like halos, blind spots, blurring, and double vision
– Trouble with peripheral vision
– Night vision loss
– Difficulty reading
– Itching or fluid from your eye
Get Regular Checkups At Complete Eye Care of Medina
Even if your eyesight is strong, it’s important to follow these tips to protect your eyes and maintain their health. In addition to the steps you take at home, annual visits to the eye doctor are important for everyone. At Complete Eye Care of Medina, we take a personal, consultative approach to our patients’ eye health. We carefully evaluate the health of your eyes and your current vision through a comprehensive eye exam, including comfortable, easy testing that allows us to evaluate your risk for eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and dry eye disease. Contact us today and schedule your visit. Learn more about us at completeeyecareofmedina.com.