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How to Avoid Common Eye Conditions

Your eyes allow you to visualize everything around you, and vision issues can affect all aspects of your life. Most people work to maintain a powerful heart, strong muscles and healthy lungs. However, most people do not think about the health of their eyes until they experience problems. The good news is that you can start caring for your eyes right now by following some basic tips.

Pay Attention to Your Diet

While an overall healthy diet is critical for optimal eye health, you want to focus on certain foods. These contain nutrients that are known to be beneficial for the eyes, including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin E, lutein and vitamin C. These nutrients are especially helpful in warding off issues like cataracts, macular degeneration and even dry eyes. Vitamin A is one of the more critical eye-health nutrients. That’s why your mom always told you to eat your carrots. In fact, all orange-colored vegetables are rich in this vitamin. Other foods that boost eye health include:

  • Leafy, green vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Nuts
  • Tuna
  • Beans
  • Oily fish
  • Citrus fruits

Diabetes can also significantly affect eye health, so if you’re at risk, diet is especially important.

Wear Sunglasses

Whenever you venture outside, you want to protect your eyes just like you protect your skin. Overexposure can cause cataracts and macular degeneration. Experts affiliated with the Mayo Clinic recommend lenses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Also wear sunglasses on cloudy days, since rays of sun can still peek through the clouds.

Take a Computer Break

Hours spent looking at a computer screen can cause a variety of eye issues, including blurry vision, eyestrain, dry eyes or difficulty focusing at a distance. Unless you take regular breaks from the screen, these problems can persist after you turn away from the monitor. If you use a computer frequently, follow these additional tips:

  • Ensure that your contacts or glasses prescription is up-to-date.
  • Make sure you are at eye level with the top of your laptop or computer monitor. You want to look down a little bit when looking at the screen to help reduce glare and eyestrain.
  • Sit with proper posture. This includes feet flat on the floor and sitting up straight.
  • Look away for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of work. Get up for 15 minutes every two hours, so your eyes have a longer break.
  • Be mindful of lights and windows that can cast glare onto your computer screen.
  • Blink more frequently if you start to notice eye dryness.

Make Regular Trips to Your Eye Doctor

If you do not have any eye diseases or medical issues that can affect your eyes, you can visit your eye doctor once a year. A good rule of thumb is to get this done around the same time that you have your annual physical so you don’t forget. Your eye doctor will likely perform a comprehensive eye exam, which can include:

  • Taking note of family and personal health history
  • Looking at how your eyes work together
  • Dilating your eyes for microscopic and external examination
  • Testing your vision
  • Testing your optic nerve
  • Eye pressure testing

Wash Your Hands

Regular hand washing is an important part of staying healthy. You never want to rub or touch your eyes unless you have just washed your hands. You must also wash your hands before and after handling your contact lenses. Think about what you touch every day. You come into contact with millions of germs, and touching your eyes can cause the germs on your hands to get into your eyes. To properly wash your hands, use warm water and soap, and wash thoroughly for one minute. Make sure that you are getting your wrists, under your nails and between your fingers.

Eye care doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s an important part of overall good health.