Protecting our eyesight is one of the most basic things we can do to maintain a good quality of life.
One in six adults deals with a sight-threatening eye problem, and many more than that will experience increasing vision loss with age. Leading causes of blindness and low vision are age-related diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and glaucoma, but we can fight against them by following these tips.
1. Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays
We all should protect our eyes from the sun, but doing that isn’t as simple as grabbing a pair of cheap sunglasses. To get real UV protection, make sure that any pair of sunglasses you buy blocks 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. Sunglasses that don’t do this may actually be worse for your eyes than wearing no sunglasses at all.
2. Pay Attention to Changes in Your Vision
At any point when you notice a change in your vision, schedule an eye appointment. You may only need a small update to your glasses prescription, but it could be more serious. Symptoms like flashes of light, red eyes, eye pain or swelling, or a sudden increase in the number of floaters you see may indicate a serious eye problem that needs immediate attention from an eye doctor.
3. Find Out about Your Eye Disease Risk Factors
Do you have any family history of eye diseases? What about diabetes or high blood pressure? Are you older than 65 or an African-American over the age of 40? These are all factors that contribute to a person’s risk of developing sight-threatening conditions, so it’s important to be aware of them and adjust your eye exam schedule accordingly.
4. Schedule Regular Eye Exams
This brings us to the topic of regular eye exams. Prevention and early detection are critical in treating and minimizing effects of eye diseases. Regular eye exams are often the difference between permanent vision loss and being able to successfully save a patient’s sight. How frequently you should have eye exams will depend on your risk factors, but it should be no less often than once every two years.
5. Schedule Regular Physical Exams
Physical exams might not seem like they have much to do with healthy eyesight at first, but our eyes can be affected by chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes if they go untreated. Diabetes, particularly, can lead to diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, while untreated high blood pressure can lead to eye strokes. Seeing the doctor for a regular checkup will help catch these diseases early so you can start fighting back.
6. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Finally, you can help protect your eyesight by simply living as healthy a lifestyle as possible. Eating healthy foods (including plenty of dark leafy greens and fruits) will promote good eye health, as will regular exercise. Avoiding bad habits like smoking is just as important as building good ones, because smoking increases the risk of many different sight-threatening conditions.
The Optometrist Is Your Best Resource for Lifelong Eye Health
For more information on how you can protect your visions, from advice on a good pair of sunglasses to dietary recommendations, just drop by our practice or give us a call. We’d especially love to hear from you if it’s been a while since your last appointment!