The New Year is a time to start fresh and renew our commitment to health, happiness and success. It’s important to include eye and vision health and safety in these resolutions. Here are the top six ways you can make your eyes and vision a priority this year.
- Schedule a comprehensive eye exam for each member of your family.
A comprehensive eye exam will ensure not only that your vision is at its best, but will also screen for any eye disease or issues with your eye health. In many cases of eye disease and damage, early detection is essential for treatment and preservation of eyesight.
- Protect your eyes from the sun all year round.
Harmful UV and HEV (high-energy visible) radiation from the sun, and potentially from computer screens and digital devices as well, have been linked to serious eye conditions including macular degeneration, cataracts and non-cancerous and cancerous growths in the eye and eyelids. When you’re outdoors, make sure you wear sunglasses that are 100% protective from these harmful rays. Indoor clear lenses coatings are now available to protect from HEV light.
- Know your eye health risk factors.
Knowing who is at risk and catching the signs early are essential to preventing common vision threatening diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. Being aware of your family history, race, gender and lifestyle and how those factors can contribute to eye diseases, can help you help your doctor to keep a close eye on any signs of disease before it is too late.
- Take proper care of contact lenses.
Contact lenses can be one of life’s greatest conveniences but if not cared for properly, they can cause serious and debilitating problems for your eyes. Don’t risk infections, abrasions or even vision loss by skimping on the necessary steps to clean and store your contact lenses. Here is a short video about proper contact cleaning and storage for demonstration purposes only: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOJ6RM-tts. Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions for care.
- Use proper eye protection for sports or work that poses a danger to your eyes.
According to Prevent Blindness America hospital emergency rooms treat more than 700 000 work related eye injuries, 125 000 eye injuries that occur at home and 40 000 sports related eye injuries a year. Almost all of these injuries can be avoided with proper eye protection. Speak to your eye doctor about your work, hobbies and athletic activities to determine the best protective eyewear for your needs.
- Incorporate eye healthy foods in to your regular diet.
Foods that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants play an essential role in the health of your eyes. Research shows that a proper diet can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye problems. Eat foods that are rich in beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (such as spinach, kale, red/orange peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash), bioflavonoids (such as tea, red wine, citric fruits, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products), Omega-3 Fatty Acids (cold water fish, ground flaxseeds, walnuts) and fruits, vegetables and other foods rich in vitamins A, C and D. Zinc is also linked to eye health and found in foods such as oysters, beef and dark meat turkey.
Start the year off right with your eyes on your mind. These six resolutions will not only help you see a wonderful year, but will help you preserve healthy eyes and vision for a lifetime.
Dr. David Hite