If you’re blessed with good eyesight, it’s easy to take your eyes for granted. However, vision problems can seriously affect your life over time. In fact, vision loss can decrease your quality of life and increase your risk of depression, diabetes and other health problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Practicing simple daily habits can help improve your eye health and reduce your risk of problems in the future.
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Exposing your eyes to ultraviolet rays can cause damage over time. Wear sunglasses can block harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, sunburn, eye cancer and growths around the eye, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Polarized glasses with smoke or gray lenses can provide the best protection from the sun’s rays and reduce glare.
Take screen breaks
Prolonged screen time can cause dry eyesneck and shoulder pain, blurred vision, headaches and digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome. The American Optometric Association recommends using the 20-20-20 rule to prevent computer vision syndrome. Every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Also take reading breaks
Screen time isn’t the only way to tire your eyes. When you read a book, you probably also hold it close to you for long periods of time. Both activities can lead to myopia, or myopia, meaning that distant objects are blurry while close objects are clear. Just as you should use the 20-20-20 rule for taking screen breaks, you should also use this rule for breaks in books. If you find yourself engrossed in what you’re reading or doing on the computer, set an alarm so you don’t miss your 20-minute break.
Move your body
Regular exercise can provide eye health benefits, such as promoting healthy blood vessels and reducing the risk of developing glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, reports the AAO. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, plus two days of strength training for your muscles. You can also practice eye exercises to reduce eye strain and fatigue while sitting at your desk.
Children and adults should go outside often, even if you get the recommended exercise indoors. Research shows that children spending time outside have a lower risk of developing myopia in adolescence and adulthood. Playing with your children at the local playground, walking in the woods or even playing in the garden can help the whole family stay active and healthy. Don’t forget your sunglasses!
Do not smoke
It is well known that smoking is bad for your health. It can also increase your risk of developing eye diseases like cataracts or age-related macular degeneration. according to the Food and Drug Administration. Smokers have a two to three times higher risk of developing cataracts and an up to four times higher risk of AMD. Future research could determine whether smoking cigarettes can also cause glaucoma, Graves’ eye disease, thyroid eye disease, and promote the onset or progression of diabetic retinopathy. To improve your health, develop a smoking cessation plan.
Eat balanced meals
The foods you eat every day can improve your eye health. Eating foods rich in vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc can promote cell growth, reduce inflammation in eye tissues and limit free radicals which can damage your eyes.
To get the right nutrients for your eyes, eat balanced meals that include some of these elements. food in your usual diet, recommended by the AAO:
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene: Apricots, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, red pepper, ricotta, mango.
- Vitamin C: Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, tangerines, peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, red pepper.
- Vitamin E : Avocados, almonds, peanut butter, wheat germ, sunflower seeds.
- Omega 3: Halibut, sardines, salmon, tuna, trout.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin: Green cabbage, broccoli, eggs, peas, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, turnip greens.
- Zinc: Lima beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lean red meats, oysters, fortified cereals, poultry.
Avoid rubbing your eyes
If you habitually rub your eyes, it could cause eye damage or infections. Dry eyes and eye strain can make you want to rub your eyes, and some may rub them too much or too hard. This can lead to problems such as reduced or blurred vision, headaches, inflammation, eye and light sensitivity. Another reason to avoid rubbing your eyes is that bacteria or viruses on your fingers or hands could lead to conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye. Instead of rubbing your eyes, use eye drops or saline solution to clean your eyes and keep them moist. Resist the urge and find something else to occupy your hands until you kick the habit.
Learn more: 7 Home Remedies for Dry, Itchy Eyes
wash your hands
You should always wash your hands before touching your face or eyes and handling contact lenses. Almost 45 million Americans wear contact lensesand approximately 1 in 3 wearers develop complications, with 1 in 5 contact lens infections causing corneal damage.
Additionally, it’s unclear what types of germs are found on things you touch after someone unknowingly contaminated them. Wash your hands regularly can reduce your risk of respiratory illness by up to 21% and diarrheal illness by up to 40%, the CDC reports.
Take off your makeup
After a long day, the last thing you might think about is removing eye makeup before bed. But it benefits your eye health and can reduce your risk of blepharitis or inflammation of the eyelids, according to the network of optometrists.
You should also adopt good makeup practices that can save your skin and eyes, such as using only products designed for eyes, replacing your makeup often (especially after an eye infection), not applying eye makeup on the inside of the eyelids and never share eye makeup with anyone else. If you use brushes or sponges to apply eye makeup, wash them regularly.