Your ability to see allows you to experience the world around you in a completely unique way. Every day, you see millions of different colors, shapes, and sizes. You use your eyes to read, write, drive, and even watch television.
Because your eyes are so important, it’s crucial that you take good care of them. In celebration of Healthy Aging Month, here are ten ways you can take care of your eyes as you age:
1. Take Care Of Your Eyewear
Whether you wear glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision, it's important to take care of your eyewear. When it comes to eyeglasses, you should clean them regularly with soap and water or a lens cleaning solution. You should also avoid using harsh chemicals, which can damage the coating on your lenses.
As for contact lens wearers, taking care of your contacts is necessary for preventing eye diseases, avoiding bacterial build-up, and maintaining good eye health. Use these essential eye care habits when using your contact lenses:
- Wash your hands before handling your lenses.
- Use fresh solution every time you clean and store your lenses.
- Don't sleep in your lenses unless they're specifically designed for overnight wear.
- Replace your lenses as often as recommended by your eye care professional.
- Replace your lens case every three months.
2. Wear Sunglasses
Wearing sunglasses makes being outside more comfortable, and it's also important for protecting your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV radiation can damage the tissue in your eyes, leading to eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer of the eye.
When choosing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Then, make sure to wear them anytime you go out during the day, regardless of season, to best protect against sun exposure and keep your eyes healthy.
3. Use Makeup Carefully
If you wear makeup, especially eye makeup, it's important to follow a few hygiene rules to help prevent infections and other issues. Here are some tips to help you wear your favorite makeup safely:
- Wash your hands before applying makeup.
- Don't share makeup with others. This can help prevent the spread of bacteria and other germs.
- Wash your makeup brushes regularly to avoid bacterial build-up.
- Pay attention to expiration dates and be sure to throw out old makeup.
- Never apply makeup in a moving vehicle. You might accidentally poke yourself in the eye!
- Always remove your makeup before going to bed.
4. Work Safely
Whether you're a professional handyman or just doing some work around the house, it's important to use the appropriate eye safety gear when working with chemicals or power tools. Wearing eye protection can help prevent serious injuries, so be sure to use safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield when working with any dangerous materials. Otherwise, should a sharp object or dangerous chemical get into your eye, you could end up with a serious corneal abrasion, vision loss, or other eye injuries.
If you work behind a computer, this advice is important to you, too. In order to prevent eye or vision problems caused by your work set-up, make sure to:
- Position your computer screen so that the top is at or below eye level.
- Have sufficient but diffused lighting, and avoid glare on your screen.
- Blink often and use artificial tears or eye drops if your eyes feel dry.
- Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
5. Quit Smoking
Perhaps the most common piece of professional medical advice is to quit smoking (or never start). This is because smoking has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. But did you know that smoking can also lead to vision problems?
Smokers are more likely to develop eye diseases like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and uveitis (inflammation of the eye). They're also at a higher risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, which can cause blindness. So if you smoke, it's time to take care of your eyes (and the rest of your body!) by quitting as soon as possible.
6. Eat Well
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for your overall health, including the health of your eyes. Foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as omega-three fatty acids, can help protect your eyes from damage. So be sure to include plenty of fruits, deep yellow and green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds in your diet. And if you're worried about getting enough of these nutrients, talk to your doctor or eye care professional about taking a supplement.
7. Exercise Often
Regular exercise is a great way to keep your eyes healthy! Exercise can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions that can lead to vision problems. Plus, it can help improve blood circulation to the eyes, which can reduce eye fatigue and dryness.
30 minutes of exercise most days of the week is a great goal to aim for, but even moderate amounts of exercise can be beneficial. So get up and moving, and your eyes will thank you!
8. Be Alert
It's important to be alert for changes in your vision. If you suddenly start seeing floaters or flashes of light, or if you experience blurred vision, pain, or redness in your eyes, visit your ophthalmologist right away. These could be warning signs of a serious eye condition that needs to be treated.
9. Know Your Family History
Knowing your family's history is important for all aspects of your health, as some diseases have genetic factors that could put you at a higher risk. Make sure to tell your about your family medical history, especially any known eye diseases, like glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy. This will help them keep a close eye on your eyesight and spot any early signs of problems.
10. Visit Your Eye Doctor
Finally, the best way to keep your eyes healthy is by visiting your eye doctor for routine eye exams. This is especially important if you have a family history of eye disease, if you're over the age of 50, or if you have diabetes. However, everyone should have their eyes checked at least once every two years.
During an eye exam, your doctor will check for any signs of problems and can catch diseases early on, when they're most treatable. Plus, if you do have any eye diseases, your doctor can help educate you on your condition and what you can do to keep your eyes healthy. After all, the more you know about your condition, the better able you will be to take care of your eyes.
So don't wait - schedule an appointment with your Everett & Hurite ophthalmologist!
The team at is dedicated to providing the best possible care for our patients. We offer a wide range of services, from routine eye exams to the treatment of complex eye diseases. Protect your vision and today!