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8 Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

8 Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Eight Simple Ways To Help Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Eyesight is often taken for granted. Many of us regualry appreciate the importance of our eyesight when we take in the breath taking wonders of our world. However few people take the time to care for the body part that gives us this precious gift of sight.

Help Keep Eyes Healthy
Below are 8 simple steps that can help take care of your eyes:

Get an Eye Exam, Regardless of Your Age

A visit to an eye doctor or an ophthalmologist is not just for people with glasses or problems with their eye. It is recommended that everyone, no matter how old, should get their eyes checked at least every two years.

Dr. Scott Greenstein, an ophthalmologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary who was recently interview by Fox News said,

“There are many people that think if they can see reasonably well, that’s the end of the story. (But) They may have some ophthalmic condition that’s undiagnosed.”

Other conditions such as migraines and headaches can be caused by vision impairment; an ophthalmologist may be just the right specialist to help diagnose such problems. And over the age of 60, yearly visits are recommended as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration become much more common.

Dr. Greenstein also mentioned that computer screens are not a common cause of eye problems and that “There is no evidence that you can over use your eyes,” Eyestrain from staring at a screen is does not cause any anatomical or structural damage, serious cases are usually due to other problems. However if you are experiencing any symptoms of eyestrain, no matter what may have caused the problem, a visit to an ophthalmologist is required as soon as possible.

Wear Sunglasses and a Hat

Although it may seem obvious but wearing sunglasses and a hat helps protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Studies have shown that repeated sun exposure could increase incidence of cataracts, which cause cloudy vision as well as macular degeneration, a condition that reduces vision in the central part of the retina.

Yellow and orange tinted lenses have been shown in some studies to better absorb the wavelength of light that increases the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration but as Greenstein noted, the best protection from sunglasses comes from having a pair you will want to wear for any and all sun exposure.

Manage Your Diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition where high blood sugar damages blood vessels behind the retina. That blood then can leak out into the retina, causing vision problems.Greenstein explained,

“Poor [blood sugar] control increases your risk, and better control lowers your risk,”

Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should receive an annual eye exam.

Wear Eye Protection

There are many occupations such as welding which require the use of eye protection to stop the corneas being burned from a stray spark. But there are other activities which are often over look the true safety of our eyes.

Avid skiers will know the importance of wearing protective goggles whilst on the slopes, however not many of us know that degree of damage that can be caused by insufficient protection is equal to that of welding without a mask.

Besides skiing, other activities that are of high risk to our eyes include trimming the plants and trees in your garden. Cutting back tress can send debris flying, even mowing the lawn, raking or pruning can shoot a stray branch into the cornea.

Some sports such as racquetball, squash and even basketball also carry high risk factors such as finger or ball to the eye.

Healthy Diet

Unfortunately, the old myth about carrots helping our eye sight is not entirely true. For some people with unhealthy optic nerves or a very dry cornea, diet can make a difference, but those cases are rare.

Vitamins A, C, E and zinc have been shown to reduce the risk and severity of macular degeneration however Greenstein cautioned that, “A supplement of these vitamins will not cause any harm - but will also not improve vision.”

The key to overall health is a balanced diet but with regards to our eye sight, more importantly than diet, are the risks of smoking. Dr. Greenstein warned that smoking increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Take Out Your Contacts After Long Periods

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve some contacts for “extended wear,” it is not advised. Greenstein says,

“Leaving contacts in too long, especially overnight, can lead to infection.”

Check Your Medication

It is best to tell your ophthalmologist about any medications you are taking at each visit.

Flomax is a medication for male urinary symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia. Flomax can complicate cataract surgery, and men should consider whether they are going to need cataract surgery before beginning this medication.

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid drug used to treat a range of autoimmune diseases; however it has also been shown to increase the risk of glaucoma and cataracts when taken for long periods of time.

Do Not Wait To Get Cataract Surgery

Some patients may be told that they should wait for the cataract to be “ripe” before undergoing surgery. Greenstein stressed that “The longer you wait, the higher the risk to get it out, the eye is not a piece of fruit.”
Cataract surgery has a very low complication rate, and anyone with this condition should discuss whether surgery is an appropriate option with his or her ophthalmologist.

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