Whether you’re a 26-year-old with perfect vision or a 66-year-old with bifocals, you need to be proactive in protecting your vision and maintaining your eye health. Two of the best ways to accomplish this are avoiding common eye irritants and scheduling regular checkups with a trusted eye doctor.
In addition to reducing annoyances such as headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes, avoiding or limiting exposure to eye irritants reduces the risk of developing more serious eye conditions and diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Help ward off those problems at their source by following these tips:
1) Regularly treat allergies. Although allergic conjunctivitis doesn’t pose a serious health risk, proper treatment relieves the discomfort it causes. Avoid rubbing your eyes when suffering from allergies — it will only make the problem worse.
2) Treat all infections immediately. Untreated infections can result in styes, uveitis, corneal ulcers, loss of vision and other complications.
3) Wear goggles when swimming in salty or chlorinated water. In addition to temporary irritation from the chemicals or salt, contaminates in both types of water can cause infections.
4) Monitor your use of computers, smartphones and tablets. Overusing these devices causes eyestrain and discomfort.
5) Limit eye fatigue by periodically giving your eyes a rest from close-up work. Much like using a digital device for too long, eye fatigue causes general discomfort and strain.
6) Adjust lighting at home and work to avoid eyestrain.
7) Be careful using decorative contact lenses for costume parties. Use these lenses improperly and you could suffer from infections, corneal scarring and other complications.
8) Be tobacco free. In addition to immediate eye irritation, smoking can lead to macular degeneration and blindness.
9) Increase the amount of omega-3 in your diet to help keep eyes lubricated and prevent dry eye syndrome.
10) Protect eyes from exposure to ultraviolet and high energy visible light. These harmful rays from the sun contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration and corneal damage.
11) If you wear eye makeup, avoid infection by getting rid of outdated products. As mentioned above, eye infections can lead to a number of serious complications.
12) Use eye protection for sports activities. Common sports-related injuries include corneal abrasions, subconjunctival hemorrhage and damage to the bone surrounding the eye.
13) Maintain a healthy blood sugar level to avoid diabetes. Diabetics are at greater risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.
If your vision is good, and you aren’t experiencing any eye problems, you might think visiting an optometrist or ophthalmologist is unnecessary. Again, proactive prevention is key. Annual checkups ensure you build a solid relationship and good communication with your eye doctor, so she can monitor your eye health over the years.
As with any health matter, you should see a physician if eye irritation worsens, persists or interferes with your daily functioning. Of course, an established history with a qualified eye professional can help you get any issues treated quicker and easier.
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