From your first pair of glasses in middle school to a diagnosis of cataracts or macular degeneration, eye problems are a common symptom of getting older. However, eye disease is more than just squinting to read. Visual impairment puts you at risk of accidents, social withdrawal and depression. If you’re suddenly having eye problems, exercising good eye care can help diminish or even eliminate your symptoms. Read on for a basic guide to whipping your peepers into shape.
Eat Your Veggies
Only 9% of adults in the United States eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day, but the nutrients in plant foods offer many benefits for eye health. Greens like kale, spinach and broccoli provide lutein, which protects your eyes from ultraviolet light and reduces your risk of cataracts. Orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes contain lots of beta carotene to improve your night vision, and vegetable oils are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
You already know the importance of using protective eye wear when working around hazardous substances, but what about everyday dangers like pollen and sunlight? Exposure to ultraviolet light is one of the biggest risk factors for cataracts, so put on those shades whenever you go outside. If you suffer from allergies, wear goggles while hiking, biking or mowing your lawn to prevent rubbing and scratching your eyes.
Visit the Eye Doctor
A yearly checkup with your eye doctor is more than just getting a new glasses prescription. Your doctor also looks for early signs of various eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and cancer. Although optometrist visits are adequate for younger, average-risk patients, you should schedule an ophthalmology exam if you have a chronic eye condition or you’re over the age of 50.
Rest Your Peepers
You might think your tired eyes only affect your looks, but lack of sleep leads to dry, strained eyes and puts you at risk of eye disease. Seven to eight hours of sleep each night allows your eyes to rest and recover so you look and feel your best in the morning. Eliminate blue light sources like phone and computer screens at least one hour before bed and never sleep in contact lenses.
Remember, eye problems are sometimes a sign of other underlying diseases. Diabetes, high blood pressure and brain tumors are just a few of the conditions that can manifest in your eyes. If you’re experiencing visual symptoms, it’s important to visit your doctor to rule out anything serious first.