Over 80% of visual impairment is readily treatable and/or preventable. As taking care of your eye health, and overall health, is key to ensuring healthy eyes, we talked to Licensed Optical Dispenser Stefan Mayer to give us the top tips and myths regarding eye health. Remember, the best way to make sure that your eyes are healthy is to have regular eye exams with your Eye Care Professional.
Eye Health Tips | What You Can Do for Your Eye Health
UV rays are nasty characters. They can cause growths on the eye, such as pterygium, that can show up in our teens or twenties. They often develop in surfers, skiers, fishermen, farmers, or anyone who spends long hours under the mid-day sun or in the UV-intense conditions found near rivers, oceans, and mountains.
Diseases like cataracts and eye cancers that develop from damaging UV rays can take many years to grow. However each time we’re out in the sun without protection, we could be adding to the damage that increases our risk of getting one of these serious disorders. Wearing sunglasses and a hat reduces this risk, especially for babies and kids. People of all ages should take precautions whenever they are outdoors.
Good sunglasses should:
- Be light and fit comfortably without being too heavy
- Wrap around fit to let as little UV & glare into the eye as possible
- Have 100% UV protection
- Correct darkness for appropriate glare conditions that they are used in
- In extreme bright & high UV conditions, wearing a hat together with sunglasses also reduces UV & glare reaching eye significantly
A healthy diet is important for many reasons, but there are specific nutrients and vitamins that are essential to keep the eye healthy and many foods in which they can be found. You’ve probably heard that carrots and other orange-coloured fruits and vegetables promote eye health and protect vision, and it’s true. Beta-carotene, is a type of Vitamin A that gives these foods their orange hue. It helps the retina and other parts of the eye to function smoothly. Beta-carotene occurs in citrus, berries, and colourful vegetables, such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, pumpkin and cantaloupe. These colourful fruits and vegetables also contain Vitamin C and carotenoids, which are believed to reduce the risk of eye diseases. Leafy Greens including, kale, spinach, chard, and collard greens are chock full of Lutein and Zeaxanthin which can help with keeping the eye moist and help protect against macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. Broccoli, peas, and avocados are also good sources of these nutrients. Eggs, nuts, and fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which again, help to keep the eye moist and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts
Start Moving & Quit Smoking
Preventative health care is at the core of maintaining healthy eyes. Women’s Fitness cites The Journal of Neuroscience‘s recent study that “moderate aerobic exercise (like jogging) may put the breaks on age-related vision loss”. In regards to smoking? Just stop. It is one of the best investments you can make for your vision long term. Smoking may cause both types of macular degeneration and the resulting blindness is irreversible. The process can be stopped and managed if diagnosed in its early stages.
The main issue with computer screens is eye strain. Eye strain is not known to damage vision permanently, but it can prevent you from doing your work efficiently. Eye muscle strain is an eye disorder caused by strain on the eye muscles. The eyes become tired when being used intensely when working on the computer, driving or reading. This condition can also occur during long periods of time straining to see in dim light or extremely bright lights. If you’re one of the 70% who spend 6 hours or more on digital devices (i.e. smartphones, computers, and tablets) you may want to consider Digital Protection Lenses that can filter and reflect Harmful Blue Light.
Eye strain can be minimized by a few things. Rest your eyes every so often; every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus on something in the distance. Make sure you have your screen situated correctly. These tips will help to relieve tense muscles in your eye.
Eye Health Myths
Carrots will Restore your Vision
Yes, carrots have vitamin A in them which is required for good healthy eyes, but it is an old wives take that they can restore vision. Unfortunately, they will not restore refractive errors or correct permanent eye damage.
Sitting Close to the TV is Bad for You
Another common misconception is that sitting closer to the TV than absolutely necessary will hurt your eyes. It will not damage them permanently, however eye strain and a sore back may be a real possibility.
Dim-Light Damages Your Eyes
We hear all the time that reading in dim-light damages your eyes. This is not the case. Reading in lower light instances won’t hurt your eyes, but it is very likely to tire them out. To prevent this, you should try to make things easier on your eyes and work in adequate lighting as much as possible.
Healthy Eyes Checklist
- Get a regular eye exam from your Eye Care Provider
- Wear protective eyewear when required and appropriate. This includes industrial situations, outdoor sports and hobby workshops
- Wear sunglasses while outside especially in high UV conditions
- Maintain a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables chock-full of vitamins
- For contact lens wearers, wash hands before inserting and removing contact lenses
- Do not overwear contact lenses. Lenses which have not been replaced regularly can increase the risks of allergic, inflammatory and infectious events. Wear your lenses as prescribed by your eye care practitioner
Have your prescription in hand or looking for a new pair of protective sunglasses or digital protection lenses?