Prevention – How to keep your eyes healthy for years to come!
1. Wear sunglasses whenever outdoors.
UV light is damaging to the skin, lens and retina of your eye. It is important to wear sunglasses which block UV light, even in the winter, particularly under these circumstances:
- When at the beach or in the water;
- When participating in winter sports, especially at high altitudes;
- When using medications that can cause sensitivity to light
Which sunglasses should I buy?
The best sunglasses offer 100 percent UV absorption, are of the best optical quality and are impact resistant, made of polycarbonate. For over- the-counter sunglasses, look for 100% block of UV-A and UV-B, not the color of the lenses. UV protection is a special coating on the lenses.
Will sunglasses always protect your eyes?
Sunglasses cannot protect your eyes from certain intense light sources. Arc welding, tanning beds/lights, snowfields, or gazing directly at the sun, especially during a solar eclipse, for example, can severely damage your eyes.
2. Stop Smoking!
Smoking advances macular degeneration and cataracts, even in your twenties. It also causes worsening of dry eye, for you and your family. It increases risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and stroke. Avoiding smoking, or quitting, is one of the best investments you can make in your long-term eye health. The good news is that after people quit smoking, their risks for these eye diseases becomes almost as low as for people who never smoked.
3. Eat your way to healthier eyes!
Consider adding green leafy vegetables and cold water fish, such as salmon or mackerel to your diet. These will help slow macular degeneration, cataract formation, and help with dry eye, as well as your heart and other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Recent study suggested that eating one or more servings of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids on a weekly basis reduces risk of dry macular degeneration worsening. (Reynolds et al. Ophthalmology. Published online March 7, 2013)
4. Caring for your contacts= Caring for your eyes.
The single best way to avoid an eye infection is proper lens care. Your risk of infection increases 16 times just by wearing contacts. Do not sleep in your lenses! Allow your eyes some breathing time out of contacts. Make sure you “rub and rinse” your contacts with solution, even if you are using a “no rub” solution. Make sure to change your case every few months, and allow your case to dry between uses. Never use tap water on your contacts! The worst infections come from tap water.
5. Get a screening if you are 40 years or older.
There are many eye diseases, like glaucoma, which can be successfully treated if caught early. Many have no early symptoms, but can cause irreversible damage if undetected.