A lifetime of healthy vision is something everyone wants, but we don’t always take the steps needed to help make it a reality. The outbreak of COVID-19 has put health front and center for everyone, especially the health of eyes and vision. Finding ways to take better care of ourselves, including our eyes, has become more important. Here’s a list of five good things to do for the health of your eyes:
DAILY: Eat healthy vision foods
The good news is that the FDA recommendation of eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables is a great place to start. People who eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables usually get all the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain healthy eyes which is essential for healthy vision. There are specific nutrients that support eye health and vision so be sure to add these powerhouse foods to your shopping cart.
DAILY: Avoid digital eyestrain
More than ever, our devices are our constant companions. Phones, tablets, computers, and television sets offered welcome entertainment as well as vital means of connection during the pandemic. However, staring at a computer or phone screen all day long can impact your eyes and vision. How your eyes feel after a day in front of devices is a good indicator – they don’t feel great and probably aren’t delivering the healthy vision you expect. It’s important to rest your eyes often – look away from the screen every few minutes – and take frequent breaks from the computer. You also want to make sure you have adequate lighting that doesn’t reflect off the computer screen.
DAILY: Avoid touching your eyes
If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that we shouldn’t be careless about touching our faces and eyes. We constantly handle and touch dirty things all day: keys, keyboards, phones, doorknobs, etc. Even if you are diligent about washing your hands, touching your eyes is simply not a good idea. In addition to potentially spreading the virus, touching or rubbing your eyes can accidentally irritate or cause an infection. However, there are circumstances when it is necessary to touch your eyes, say to handle your contacts, or to apply makeup. Just make sure your hands are freshly and thoroughly washed; soap and water for at least 20 seconds will do the trick.
WEEKLY: Eye protection is part of healthy vision
- If you’re outdoors doing the weekly gardening or DIY chores, wear safety glasses or goggles to keep your eyes safe from flying dirt or debris.
- If your weekly exercise routine includes a game of tennis, soccer, or basketball, consider wearing eye protection (shatter-resistant glasses or goggles). If your weekends find you poolside and you wear contacts or glasses, consider prescription goggles for spending time in the water. Importantly, never wear contacts in pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, or the ocean.
- And, of course, anytime you are out in the sun, wear sunglasses that offer ultraviolet light protection.
ANNUALLY: Get an eye exam
Annual visits evaluate the health of your eye and check for early signs of eye disease such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, all of which are best managed with early intervention to protect your healthy vision. Keep your ophthalmologist up to date on your overall health and any medication you may be taking. Frequent eye exams are important if you wear contact lenses to help prevent damage from improper use, fit, or to treat dry eye irritation. Checking on your vision prescription is essential. This is also a great time to talk with your ophthalmologist about your vision correction options and finding out if you are a good candidate for LASIK.
ALWAYS: Have a good relationship with your eye doctor
In addition to knowing you are doing what is best for your eyes today, your eye doctor is your partner in healthy vision and eyes for life. Over time, your needs may change and require the care of a specialist. Having an eye doctor you routinely work with and trust means you will always get the best care for your condition.
Following this calendar of recommendations and having an open, strong relationship with your eye doctor can help to ensure your eye health and a lifetime of good vision.