Wow! Every 13 minutes someone shows up in the hospital with a sports-related eye injury; more than 800,000 eye injuries happen in the workplace each year; 60 percent of adults have never had an eye exam. Are you taking your sight for granted? Here are 5 ways to keep your eyes as healthy as possible:
1. Get an Eye Exam
If you’ve never had an eye exam, or it’s been more than year, schedule an eye exam. Vision can deteriorate so slowly that you may not even realize that you’ve got a problem. Some eye conditions, like glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration may not have symptoms. The National Eye Institute (NEI) says a dilated eye exam is the only way to find some eye problems before it’s too late.
2. Make Healthy Choices
It’s as true for your eyes as it is for your overall health.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking is linked to increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage.
- Maintain a healthy diet. According to the NEI, there are eye health benefits to a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens.
- Watch your weight. Obesity raises the risk of diabetes and other conditions that can affect your eyes.
- Manage chronic diseases. Certain conditions, like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and hypertension, can affect the eyes and should be monitored regularly.
3. Check Your Family History
Some eye disease are hereditary. Tell your eye doctor if eye diseases run in your family so you can catch problems early on.
4. Use Protection
Many eye injuries can be avoided simply by wearing safety glasses, sports goggles, or eye guards. If your hobbies or workplace increase your chances of eye injury, play it safe — protect those precious eyes.
5. Wear Sunglasses
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your eyes and lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and astigmatism. The NEI recommends sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
May is Healthy Vision Month. Have you scheduled your eye exam? For more information, visit the National Eye Institute.