Tips that can sustain your eye health
THERE ARE five simple steps we can do to help prevent common eye diseases and preserve our vision.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods and watching your dietary intake of antioxidants [substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals] are important and do seem to help prevent some of the age-related disease processes like macular degeneration and cataracts. We should try to eat more foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, and avoiding saturated fats.
Eat lots of green, leafy veggies, like kale, collard greens and spinach, which are rich in lutein, an antioxidant that research shows may help preserve eye health and deter the risk of macular degeneration. Wolfberries, which are rich in zeaxanthin, also may be beneficial. Flaxseed is recommended because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Dry eyes can be helped by diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Diet is at the root of many diseases that can affect the eyes. High blood pressure has been linked to a multitude of eye problems, including macular degeneration and hypertensive retinopathy. Diabetes can cause severe problems in the eyes. High cholesterol can cause problems in the blood supply of the eyes.
2. Protect your eyes from the sun
Sun exposure has been linked to cataract formation and, possibly, macular degeneration. The normal tinted glasses will not help. To protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, you need to make sure your regular glasses and sunglasses have 100 per cent UV protection, which is completely separate from the tint.You can have clear lenses with UV coating that will protect you from the harmful rays of the sun. UV protective glasses do more than protect against cataracts and other eye diseases. UV rays can also cause growths on the eye’s surface that are called pterygium. This eye condition, which can appear as yellow bumps or excessive tissue on the eye’s surface, can decrease vision and may require surgery. If you buy over-the-counter sunglasses, look for the words ‘UV absorbing’.
There has been some controversy about whether exercising the eyes with eye movements helps preserve vision or prevent disease. There is research that suggests aerobic exercise, in general, reduces eye pressure – which can be beneficial in the case of glaucoma, according to Goldman.
4. Don’t smoke!
Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases and vision problems, according to research. Smoking damages blood vessels, causing them to constrict and form atherosclerotic plaques – which can deprive the eye tissue of oxygen. Also, smoking has been shown to increase cataract formation.
5. Eye health at work
While computer use won’t harm your eyes in the long term, working at a computer can cause eye fatigue and symptoms such as tired, dry, itchy or burning eyes. People can prevent eye stress by sitting correctly at the computer with the screen positioned slightly below the line of sight. The screen shouldn’t be inches away (too close) or so far that you cannot see the print, easily. Eyeglasses such as trifocals or progressive should be recommended to be used with the computer. Glare can create eye strain. People can combat glare at work with antireflective coatings on their computer screens as well as antireflective coatings on their glasses.
To help with the strain that artificial lighting can cause on the eyes it is recommended that people convert to incandescent light from a regular soft white light bulb or have lamps on their desks with incandescent light that illuminates the work area evenly.
6. Have yearly eye examination
One of the most proactive steps that people can take to protect their vision is to have a complete eye exam early in their life. It is recommended that an eye examination should be done as early as six months of age. Annual eye exams are recommended as persons get older, depending on their family history and individual risk of eye disease. People 65 and older should have annual eye exams because their risk for eye diseases rises dramatically.