When it comes to maintaining good health, most people focus on keeping their bones strong, their blood pressure and cholesterol at optimal levels, and their BMI within a healthy range. However, people often overlook one major part of the body: the eyes. Preserving your vision can be quite easy, and doing so will help you achieve better overall health, too!
1. Get Regular Eye Exams
Regular eye exams allow your optometrist to notice the signs and symptoms of eye disease before it has time to progress. An ophthalmologist can then intervene and provide the best course of treatment to help you maintain your vision. Speak with your optometrist to determine how frequently you should get an exam based on your risk factors.
“The best thing patients can do to protect their vision is to see their eye doctor every year and get regular physical exams to check for diabetes and high blood pressure, which if left untreated, can lead to vision loss,” said Dr. Roomasa Channa, retina surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine’s Alkek Eye Center, an outpatient surgery center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. “It’s also important to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your daily diet and exercise regularly. Wearing sunglasses daily can protect your eyes from harmful UV light.”
2. Eat a Vitamin-Rich Diet
When filling up your plate, it’s important to choose a variety of fruits and veggies to get the full range of vitamins and minerals. Certain nutrients, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and C, can help you maintain your eye health.
“Patients with certain stages of macular degeneration may benefit from high doses of these vitamins. An eye exam and discussion with your eye doctor can help determine if patients might benefit from these vitamins,” Channa said.
These vitamins can also be found in foods like oily fish, leafy greens, squash, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. Additionally, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly helps prevent conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, which can take a toll on your vision.
3. Skip the Cigarettes
Not only does smoking raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of developing diseases that can harm your vision, but certain chemicals in cigarettes can also damage your eye health directly. When a person smokes, cyanide from the cigarette enters their bloodstream and can destroy cells in the eyes. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss ways to quit smoking. Stick with your healthcare provider’s recommendations and stay motivated by the amazing benefits to your health. Check out these tips to get you through your plan to quit smoking.
4. Slip On Some Sunglasses
Most people know that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can damage your skin cells, but did you know that UV-A and UV-B radiation can also cause a variety of eye problems? UV-A radiation can hurt the macula while UV-B rays damage the front of the eye. When shopping for sunglasses, opt for a pair that blocks 100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
If you need advanced treatment to protect your vision, schedule an appointment with a St. Luke’s Health ophthalmologist. As a U.S. News and World Report High Performing Hospital in ophthalmology for 2019-2020, our team can offer the care you need to look confidently into the future.
American Academy of Ophthalmology | Are Computer Glasses Worth It?
NIH | Keep Your Eyes Healthy
Everyday Health | 10 Tips to Protect Your Vision and Prevent Blindness
Prevent Blindness | How Can UV Rays Damage Your Eyes?
Baylor College of Medicine | Seeing clearly: Know your risk for macular degeneration