World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, focusing global attention on blindness and vision impairment. This year, the theme is “Eye Care Everywhere”. In the spirit of awareness, we’ve put together five top habits that will help you nurture your eye health.
Vision loss is an element of aging, but that is not to say it is out of our control. To what degree we experience changes in eyesight actually has a good deal to do with nutrition and lifestyle. It is really never too soon to begin taking care of your eyes. Starting young and developing good habits can help maintain visual function for the long term.
No matter where you’re at in life, thinking about preserving your precious sight should compel action. Here are 5 good habits that can counteract the degenerating aspects of aging on the eyes.
Eat right and save sight.
Enjoy a nutrient-rich diet, emphasizing fish high in omega-3, a colorful assortment of whole fruits and veggies, along with plenty of citrus and lots of leafy greens, legumes, olive oil, nuts and grains.
The Mediterranean diet is known to keep the heart and brain in peak condition and to lower the cancer risk. A new study shows it can also significantly lessen the long-term effects of age-related macular degeneration. Read more about the study from American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
Prevent sun damage and injury to your eyes.
The importance of shielding eyes from the damaging rays of the sun cannot be overstated. Be sure your sunglasses block out at least 99% of UV rays. Wear safety goggles or protective glasses when engaged in sports or when working with hazardous and airborne materials. Read our 10 tips on keeping your eyes protected.
Smoking is the most common factor in developing macular degeneration. It also contributes to cataracts and damage to the optic nerve. Smoking causes vasoconstriction, which restricts the blood supply to the eyes.
Get your eyes checked annually.
An annual comprehensive eye exam is essential at every age. It will help keep your eyes healthy and detect any early changes or the onset of disease. Early detection remains the most important factor in preventing loss of sight.
Give your eyes a break.
The computer screens our eyes spend so much time trained on, can and will cause blurry vision, dry eyes, difficulty focusing and general strain to the eye, neck and back. Get into the habit of giving your eyes a rest every 20 minutes by looking away for at least 20 seconds and refocusing into the distance.
And, yes, now is the perfect time to take that break. Go ahead…look away.
About the Author
Dorrie Rush is a Visual Accessibility Expert and progressive proponent for Universal Access and Inclusive Design. She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.