I know something about you:
You wear glasses, or know at least one person who does.
Probably not, considering over 40 percent of Americans are nearsighted (blurred vision over long distances), according to this 2009 study.
So odds are pretty good that at least half of the people reading this live with less-than-perfect vision. If you are like many, you got this news at a young age, and your eye doctor has only been strengthening your prescription.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” you say. How about that what you eat affects your eyesight, or that quitting smoking now will preserve healthy vision?
Here are 6 ways you can help promote, or for you 20-20 folks, keep your healthy vision.
You could have guessed this, because our diet affects nearly every part of our body: Mood, weight, digestion, yes even eyesight. Incorporate a full color spectrum of fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene and vitamin A found in yellow and orange vegetables have long been known to prevent major eye problems. Antioxidants like vitamin C can help keep down the risk of cataracts according to All About Vision’s list of eye-healthy nutrients and foods.
Prevent the Top Cause of Blindness: Diabetes
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in America. According to the National Eye Institute “Between 40 and 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy, although only about half are aware of it.” “Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss.”
Early treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent, but the best way to avoid this threat to your vision is to actively keep diabetes at bay with a healthy diet.
Take a Break from the Screen
The past 20 years came with a new threat to eye health: screens. And not just television screens after work. Many of us earn a living working in front of computer screens, and we spend a majority of our free time looking at our smartphones.
Peering at brightly lit screens for long periods of time can give us headaches, temporarily blurred vision, or dry eyes.
Take a break now and try Mayo Clinic’s 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Blindness is probably not the first health risk you connect with tobacco, but a smoker is twice as likely to develop macular degeneration compared with a nonsmoker.
The risk of cataracts is higher than that.
One Word: Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a must. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage your eyes by destroying the retina or even increasing the risk of cancer in the eyelids.
Don’t just grab a pair of dark lenses off the convenience store rack though.
Effective sunglasses need to block at least 99 percent of the UV light.
Routine Eye Exams
“Eyes are easy to ignore because they don’t tend to hurt. However, what needs to be understood is that most problems that can have very serious consequences. By the time we notice vision changes, often much damage has already been done. Routine eye exams can help prevent this.” -Dr. Curtis Hoggarth
Reviewed and commented on by Dr. Curtis Hoggarth O.D.
Dr. Curtis Hoggarth is the in house optometrist at Heritage.