About 40 percent of Americans worry about losing their eyesight over their ability to walk or hear, according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) Annual American Eye-Q® survey. The AOA offers these five tips for a lifetime of healthy vision:
Schedule yearly comprehensive exams.
Regularly seeing your eye doctor will help keep you on the path to healthy eyes.
Protect against UV rays.
No matter the season, it’s important to wear sunglasses.
Give your eyes a break from digital device use.
Practice the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.
Eat your greens.
Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day—particularly the leafy green variety.
Practice safe wear and care of contact lenses.
Follow your eye doctor’s recommendations for use and wear – keep them clean.
Older people who report vision loss are more likely to experience comorbid conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart problems, than people without vision loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For older people, having a combination of conditions could have serious consequences on overall health, the ability to perform tasks and participation in social roles.
Did you know that your nutrition habits and physical activity practices can impact your vision health? Here are suggestions from the CDC:
Eat right to protect your sight.
You’ve heard that carrots are good for your eyes. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables—particularly dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale or collard greens—is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too. Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions that can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you’re having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.
Wear protective eyewear.
Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for the activity in which you’re engaged. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do some sporting goods stores.
Quit smoking or never start.
Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.