1. Protect Your Eyes With SunglassesHarmful ultraviolet light from the sun causes several known conditions to occur in the eye. Sunlight has been shown to speed up the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. It can also cause abnormal thickening or growths to form on the white part of the eye. Especially at risk are people who spend long hours in the sun, who have had cataract surgery or who are taking certain medications such as tranquilizers, tetracycline and diuretics. These drugs can cause sensitivity to sunlight. Furthermore, sunglasses reduce glare and bright light that may impede your vision and cause accidents.
2. Do Not SmokeSmoking can cause you to develop cataracts and increases your risk for developing macular degeneration. People who smoke, have a poor diet and drink alcohol are prone to an optic nerve condition that can produce profound vision loss. Smoking is also a major irritant to patients with dry eye syndrome.
3. Limit Alcoholic BeveragesDrinking alcohol dehydrates the body, including the eyes. Dry eye symptoms are much more likely to develop if you drink alcohol. Drinking large quantities of alcohol may cause nutritional problems and may lead to toxic amblyopia, an optic nerve disease.
4. Keep Blood Sugar Within Healthy LimitsContinually challenging your body with foods that are rich in fat and sugar can put you at risk for developing large blood sugar fluctuations and eventually, diabetes. If you already have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels stable can prevent or delay the onset of diabetic eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Blood sugar fluctuations can also make the natural lens inside the eye swell, resulting in large prescription changes. You may be nearsighted one day, then farsighted the next. When this occurs, a possible diagnosis of diabetes is usually considered.
5. Keep Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Under ControlHigh blood pressure can lead to hypertensive retinopathy, a condition that left untreated can result in blindness. In addition, high blood pressure has been found to increase your risk for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration. High blood pressure in addition to high cholesterol places you at risk for developing a stroke or a central retinal artery occlusion. Strokes affecting one side of the brain often produce large blind spots in your vision. A central retinal artery occlusion is a "stroke to the eye" and usually produces profound vision loss.
6. Eat Antioxidant-Rich FoodsFoods containing antioxidants along with zinc have been shown to delay the progression of advanced macular degeneration by 25%. Although studies are controversial, antioxidants are believed to also delay cataract formation. Other nutrients, such as Vitamin A, play a vital role in good retinal health and aid in both color and night vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin, both carotenoid nutrients, have also shown positive side effects in macular degeneration patients. Omega-3 fatty acids were shown to help prevent recurrent styes and improve dry eye symptoms.
7. Have Regular Eye ExaminationsHaving a regular eye examination promotes eye health. It is easy to do, cost-effective and you might just learn a thing or two. Serious eye conditions are usually detected before vision or eye health is impacted. Regular eye exams also allow your doctor to measure your vision so that changes can be made to your prescription, ensuring your best possible vision. Your doctor will look deep inside of your eyes, checking for any signs of disease. Many eye diseases, if detected early enough, can be treated successfully without significant vision loss.
Source: Berger, Carol. "Find Good Habits for Good Eyes." AARP.org.
Berger, Carol. "Find Good Habits for Good Eyes." AARP.org.