5 Tips for Maintaining Vision Health

Vision health is tragically neglected in the United States, partially because few people realize the prevalence of vision impairments. Vision problems like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy are especially common among the elderly population. In fact, by age 80, over 50% of Americans either have cataracts or have had surgery for cataracts. To avoid blindness and visual impairments, it’s important that you maintain your vision health properly. Read on for a list of five essential tips on how to optimize your vision health.

  1. Have regular eye exams and understand common eye diseases. Most vision impairments are caused by diseases of the eye like cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Detecting and treating these diseases as early as possible can make the difference between maintaining your vision and going blind, so regular eye exams are critical. People with myopia, those over the age of 65, and African-Americans over 40 should have an eye exam every year.

  2. Put on your shades. Eye damage doesn’t just result from looking directly at the sun; it can also result from UV-ray exposure from reflections off of pavement, water, sand, and snow. Sun exposure is one of the leading causes of cataracts and macular degeneration, so always wear sunglasses when you’re outside in the daylight. Not just any pair of sunglasses will do, however; your sunglasses should offer 100% UV-ray protection.

  3. Prevent eye fatigue and strain. Medical experts aren’t yet sure what staring at a computer screen all day can do to the eyes long term, but the short-term effects are well-known: redness, eye pain, headaches, and blurry vision. To minimize eyestrain while you use a computer, don’t sit too close to the screen and try to reduce the glare as much as possible by using indirect lighting sources. Also remember to give your eyes a break periodically by using the 20/20/20 guideline—look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

  4. Wear safety glasses. About one million Americans suffer an eye injury every year, but about 90% of these injuries would have been prevented if the victim had been wearing safety glasses. Remember to be especially careful if you’re around fireworks, as nearly 25% of fireworks-related injuries happen to the eyes.

  5. Eat properly, exercise regularly, and take supplements for vision health. Make sure your diet consists of plenty of vitamins A, C, and E and the minerals selenium, copper, and zinc. You can get your recommended daily allowance of all of these vitamins and minerals by taking a multivitamin daily. Exercising daily will also help your vision health by reducing blood pressure, thus easing the pressure on the arteries in the eyes. You might also want to take supplements for eye health, such as lycopene, bilberry, and zeaxanthin.

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