By Dr. Jeff Klein, President-Elect, Nebraska Optometric Association
Have you ever thought about how many times a day you use your eyes? From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, we are constantly using our eyes to process information about the world around us. It would make sense then that of all the senses, vision is the one that nobody wants to lose. March is Save Your Vision Month and this is a great time to review some tips to keep your eyes healthy and protect the precious gift of sight.
1. Get a Yearly Eye Exam
Yearly eye examinations are a great way to protect your eyesight and keep you seeing in high definition. Nebraska Doctors of Optometry are able to detect systemic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke during a routine, dilated eye examination. Many problems that can affect a child’s learning in school can also be detected. If you haven’t had an eye exam in the last twelve months, call your optometrist today to schedule one.
2. Wear Sunglasses
Harmful UV light from the sun can have detrimental, long-term effect s on our eyes. Cataracts, macular degeneration and growths on the eyes can all be caused by exposure to the sun’s rays. Children especially should protect their eyes as it is thought that the greatest exposure to the sun occurs in the first 18 years of life. Be sure to choose sunglasses that have 100% UVA and UVB protection.
3. Eat Healthy/Be Healthy
Studies have shown that foods high in anti-oxidant vitamins can have a protective effect on the eyes, especially against macular degeneration. These include foods rich in vitamin A, C, E, zinc, and lutein. Such foods include dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as other vegetable like carrots, squash and corn. Also foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids can help with symptoms of dry eye by helping to provide a protective layer to the tear film. Drinking plenty of water can also help with dry eye symptoms and smoking should be avoided as it can contribute to dry eye problems as well as speed up the progression of macular degeneration.
4. Protect Your Eyes
Every year people lose their eyesight from injuries and accidents around the house and at work. Protective, safety eyewear can prevent many of these injuries. Always wear protective eyewear when doing jobs with high projectile objects like grinding metal, mowing or trimming the grass, and cutting wood just to name a few. Also, protective eyewear should be worn when working with any chemicals like household cleaners and bleach.
Keep your eyes healthy and your vision as good as it can possibly be by visiting one of our Nebraska Doctors of Optometry. Our doctors can help keep your windows to the world seeing clearly.