Our eyes are an incredibly important part of our health and play an important role in helping us navigate through our day-to-day lives. However, while regular eye exams as provided by your ophthalmologist will help ensure that eye diseases, eye damage and age-related degeneration are caught and treated properly, proper eye care is not restricted to your eye doctor’s office.
Our eyes, like our bodies, are at their healthiest when they’re properly cared for every day. This means that the day-to-day habits you partake in outside of Everett And Hurite’s offices will greatly impact your eye health. To properly care of your eyes between examinations, we recommend following basic healthy eye care guidelines and abiding by these simple eye care tips.
- Thoroughly and properly clean your hands and contact lenses. Keeping your hands clean and washing them regularly with hot, soapy water will do more than keep you from getting a seasonal cold or flu - it will also reduce your risk of introducing an infection to your eyes. If you wear contact lenses, these also need to be regularly and properly cleaned to help keep your eyes infection-free. If you’re unsure about the proper way to clean your lenses and their case, we recommend contacting your ophthalmologist to review this important process.
- Know your family history of eye problems. While some eye issues are caused by germs and bacteria and can be prevented with regular hand washing, other eye diseases and conditions are genetic. If you have one or more family members who have developed an eye problem or even an eye disease at some point in their life, be sure to report this information to your ophthalmologist. They will determine your risk of developing these conditions and will also adjust your personal testing and examination recommendations accordingly to ensure that they catch any developing problems sooner rather than later.
- Eat the right foods. You’ve likely heard that carrots will help improve your vision. While carrots have lots of Vitamin A, which is certainly good for your eyes, a balanced diet full of a full variety of fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, whole wheats and even proteins will be much more beneficial for your eye health than simply eating carrots. Eating a balanced diet will help you obtain each of the vitamins and minerals that help your body and eyes work properly. A balanced diet will also help to reduce inflammation within your body, as well as assist in repairing imperfections in your nerves, muscles and more. Reducing the rate at which these problems occur will ultimately:
- Decrease your risk of developing cataract
- Reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Help to protect against the damaging effects of sunlight, cigarette smoke, and air pollution
- Watch your waistline. While putting on a few pounds won’t directly affect your eyes, it will increase your chances of developing chronic conditions, like diabetes. These conditions can then ultimately damage your eyes and even lead to blindness as they develop and affect your entire body. Staying at a healthy weight with minimize your risk of developing these conditions.
- Stay safe at work and outside. If you play sports, take part in activities at home or outdoors where you use sharp objects, or regularly work in a hazardous area due to your job or a favorite hobby, be sure to invest in proper protective eyewear. You may think safety goggles, shields and glasses look silly, but they’re also designed specifically to protect your eyes. To take full advantage of the protection these items offer, be sure to buy the right products for your line of work or for the activity you’re participating in.
- Grab your sunglasses. Whether you’re just going for a casual afternoon walk, sunning on the beach, or even partaking in a winter activity, it’s important to always wear sunglasses when you are outdoors. Just like your skin, your eyes can develop problems when they’re exposed to too many of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Sunglasses help to reduce your eyes’ exposure to these rays, and therefore reduce the chances of developing exposure-related eye problems. To truly minimize your risk of developing vision problems due to too much ultraviolet ray exposure, use sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
- Quit smoking (or don’t smoke). Smoking doesn’t just harm your lungs: it also increases your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage. To help protect your vision, we recommend taking steps to quit smoking (or to simply avoid tobacco and smoking altogether).