Your eyes do a lot for your quality of life, so it’s important to keep them healthy for as long as possible. As you age, your risk of developing common eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) increases, and can lead to potential vision loss. Fortunately, there are steps you can take now to reduce your risk and protect your vision in the future.
- Wash your hands
Many common eye diseases can be spread simply by touching in or around the eye with an unwashed hand. Bacterial and viral infections can cause long-term damage to your vision, but good hand washing will minimize your risk. Never touch your eyes for any reason unless you’ve just washed your hands.
- Get some sleep
Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night if you’re able. If you regularly skip on sleep, your body can’t recharge fully which could lead to poor blood circulation and related vision problems over time.
- Eat healthy
A healthy diet helps regulate your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure, leading to efficient blood circulation. Leafy greens and omega-3 fatty acids can help promote eye health and fight AMD.
Boost your heart rate several times a week and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to reduce stress, regulate blood sugar and increase blood circulation, all which are great for healthy eyes.
- Don’t smoke
Smoking greatly increases your risk of developing an eye disease as you age. The smoke irritates and inflames your eyes, even if you don’t notice anymore, and eventually your vision will deteriorate.
- Take a break from the screen
Prolonged screen time can lead to computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain. Remember the 20-20-20 rule: take a break every 20 minutes to look at something about 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Use proper lighting, posture and distancing in your space to reduce eye strain.
- Wear sunglasses
Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage our eyes over time, leading to eye diseases. A quality pair of sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection can help combat the harmful effects of the sun.
- Wear eye protection
Wear eye protection during activities such as home repairs, gardening and cleaning, to shield your eyes from projectile equipment and dust or chemicals. Eye protection should also be worn during sports such as hockey and baseball.
- Safely handle and care for contacts
Follow your eye doctor’s instructions for safely handling and caring for your contact lenses. Misuse can result in an eye infection, corneal ulcers and sometimes even vision loss.
- Regular eye exams
Schedule regular exams with your optometrist not just to find out if your prescription has changed, but to also have your eye health evaluated. Your doctor can detect early issues that may not show any symptoms yet. People with no signs or risk factors for eye disease should still have comprehensive eye exams for early detection of eye disease and vision changes.
By practicing these positive habits in your daily life now, you can reduce your risk of developing an eye disease in the future and enjoy strong, healthy vision for longer.