The body’s most sensitive and fragile organs are our eyes, and the first step is to ensure that you take care of them. Vision loss can affect people of all ages. Eye diseases are more likely to occur in those with comorbid conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that more people with vision impairment, cataracts, and blindness, usually occurring over 50 years, are now showing up in people over forty.
Here are essential eye care tips to keep your eyes healthy. While one cannot control the ageing of your eyes, one can manage the eye health better with meticulous care. Many eye issues can be avoided if you adopt the following tips.
How to optimise your eye health:
- Give your eyes a break while working
Constantly working in front of a screen and not giving your eyes its long due rest may result in causing eye strain, blurry vision, watery eyes and sometimes, headaches. Every 30 minutes, look away from the screen and keep your eyes closed for 15 seconds. Then open them and blink rapidly; this will help lubricate your eyes.
- Eye exercise
At regular intervals, do these simple exercises Stare at a distant object for 15 seconds, switch your gaze to a nearer object, and keep staring at it for another 15 seconds. Repeat this cycle 4-5 times. Make it a habit to do this consistently to guard your eyes against unnecessary strain and discomfort. An ophthalmologist consultation will advise you to give your eyes a rest with the 20-20-20 rule–Every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Healthy food habits
Choose the right foods that can help you reduce your chances of becoming obese or contracting diabetes or hypertension, which are leading causes of eye problems. Certain foods boost your eyesight and reverse the effects of ageing. Make sure your diet includes the following:
- Nuts & Seeds: Nuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which help the eyes heal better. E.g., walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, and lentils. Seeds are also high in omega-3s and are a rich source of vitamin E. E.g., chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
- Select orange: Orange-coloured fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, mangos, and apricots are high in beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that helps with night vision and your eyes’ ability to adjust to the darkness.
- Go green: Dark leafy greens are the best sources of vitamins and nutrients for the eyes, like spinach, kale, and collards.
- Comorbidities & Eye Health
Obesity and diabetes can lead to potential eye problems. Obesity is linked with type II diabetes, and diabetes is connected to glaucoma and retinopathy. Exercising, wholesome foods can help with weight loss and diabetes management. This can help you to avoid the risks of eye conditions and save you the trouble of expensive glaucoma treatment surgery.
- Build-up your lifestyle & habits
Try to inculcate lifestyle habits that can protect eye health. Improving lifestyle habits implies taking steps to phase out the consumption of foods that do not support your health like:
- Smoking: Smoking does not help your lung health. Smoking is not only destructive to your lungs, but it can lead to cataracts. Smoking is also known to damage your optic nerve and cause macular degeneration.
- Rubbing your eyes: Another habit to watch out for is impulsively rubbing your eyes harshly. Instead, rub your eyes gently and
- Wash your hands: Wash your hands before putting them close to your eyes, especially if you put in or take out contact lenses.
- Eyewash: It is crucial to wash your eyes regularly to keep your eyes safe. Use a glass or plastic eyecup to wash your eyes with clean water. Those who started washing their eyes at least twice daily, observed improved vision in a few months.
- Regular Eye Check-ups
- Is your vision blurry?
- Do you have trouble seeing things?
- Have you noticed any changes in your vision
Regular check-ups can ward off cataracts, retinal detachment, and glaucoma, all very sight-threatening eye conditions. Consult your eye specialist if your eyes are bothering you for any of the above reasons. It would help if you visited a specialist at least once a year. They will administer tests to determine how strong your vision is or how healthy your eyes are. The tests can also find diseases, like glaucoma, which have no symptoms. It is important to spot them early, so they are easier to treat and reverse.
A comprehensive eye exam might include the following:
- Briefing your doctor about your personal and family medical history
- Vision tests to determine if you are nearsighted or farsighted or to see how well your eyes align with each other
- Eye pressure & optic nerve tests to check for conditions like glaucoma
- Protective gear
- Anti-glare: Computer screens emit harmful rays called blue light. Mitigate the effect of blue light with an anti-glare screen.
- Wear sunglasses: The UV rays of the sun can harm your eyes. They can bring about macular degeneration and cataracts and can even cause temporary blindness. Shades protect you from UV rays when you go out into the sun.
- Adjust the lighting
Ensure that the lights in your office room are not too harsh for your eyes. Avoid sitting with your back to an open window because your computer screen will reflect the glare coming from the window. Adjust the brightness of your computer so that it aligns with the room’s lighting.
- Proper sleep
Eyes are self-cleaning organs. Healthy, restful sleep is essential for your overall health, including eye health. Our eyes are lubricated when we sleep. Also, during sleep, the eyes clear out dust that may have accumulated during the day, which irritates the eye. And yes, remove your contact lens before sleeping.