7 Tips on How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

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From the moment you wake and until you close them at the end of the day, your eyes help you navigate nearly every aspect of your day. You may take your eyes for granted, especially if you don't wear glasses or contact lenses, but you shouldn't neglect them. 

Giving your eyes regular TLC can help you keep them healthy, reducing your risk of infections, eye strain, dry eye, age-related vision problems and more. 

If you aren't sure how to take care of your eyes, read on for seven helpful tips you can follow every day.

Tip #1. Wear Sunglasses

Whether it's summer or winter, sunny or overcast, sunglasses help protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are two types of UV rays that have different effects on the body, which are UVA and UVB. You'll reduce your risk of cataracts, which may develop more quickly when your eyes are exposed to harmful UV light. 

Sunglasses also help shield the delicate skin around your eyes from sunlight, which may help to delay the formation of wrinkles around your eyes. When shopping for sunglasses, look for ones that have 99 to 100% protection from both UVA and UVB light.

Tip #2. Take Screen Breaks

If your job requires you to spend hours every day staring at a computer screen, you may experience computer-related eye strain. Give your eyes a break periodically by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look up from your computer and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Practicing this exercise can help your eyes feel less tired throughout the day. 

Tip #3. Eat Well

Have you ever heard that eating carrots is good for your eyes? This is because carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. Other eye-healthy foods rich in vitamin A are deep orange or dark green in color, such as sweet potatoes or spinach. 

Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables are also good for your eyes. If you enjoy leafy greens, add more kale to your diet. Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that help to lower the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. 

Salmon and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may also help to prevent age-related eye problems.

Tip #4. Follow Proper Eye Hygiene

The viruses and bacteria that cause pink eye and other infections spread easily. Following good hygiene may help you lower your risk of eye infections. Eye care professionals recommend you wash your hands before touching your eyes and avoid rubbing your eyes. 

If you wear contacts, follow the care instructions to keep your contact lenses clean. Also, avoid sharing eye makeup or washcloths with other people.

Tip #5. Wear Protective Eyewear

Do you wear safety goggles when you work with tools? Do you have special glasses to wear when you're playing sports? Ninety percent of eye injuries could be prevented if people took steps to protect their eyes. 

Don't let your guard down when you're at home; about half of eye injuries occur around the house. Special protective eyewear— including safety glasses or goggles are designed to keep your eyes safe, unlike standard eyeglasses.

Tip #6. Quit Smoking

Smoking negatively impacts your eyes just like it impacts your lungs, skin, and oral health. People who smoke are more likely to make their existing eye conditions worse, especially those with dry eye. 

They may also increase their risk of developing age-related eye problems, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, sooner than they would if they didn't smoke. 

For better eye health — and for improved overall health — talk to a doctor about ways to quit smoking.

Tip #7. Get Dilated Eye Exams

You may not think to see an eye doctor if you don't wear glasses, but everyone should get a comprehensive eye exam periodically. It's a simple way to find out about any eye conditions that could cause vision loss without your knowledge. 

Eye care professionals recommend that at age 40, everyone should get an eye exam to screen for diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. This should be a routine visit that occurs every year or two at your eye doctor's recommendation. This is especially important if you have a family history of eye problems, as eye doctors can provide preventative care.

During the appointment, an eye doctor will put drops in your eyes to temporarily dilate your pupils so they can more easily see the inside of your eyes. If you’re diagnosed during a dilated exam, you can begin treatment early to help save your vision.

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