The eyes are the window to your soul. While it may not be on the top of your priority list, your eyes are important and need to be protected, even at a young age. We’ve learned to wear sunscreen on our skin and be careful of the sun, but our eyes can get neglected.
Here are some tips and things to keep an eye out for:
The Three V’s:
The sun has a damaging effect on our eyes, just like our skin. While you can’t put sunscreen on your corneas, it’s a good idea to put a gentle moisturizer with sunscreen over your eyelids and under your eyes. Hint: this will also prevent wrinkles. Your best defense from the sun is to wear a hat and high quality sunglasses with 100% UV-A and UV-B protection. While those flea market designer knock offs might be tempting, there’s a reason why sunglasses cost so much, and are worth every penny. Check out discount suppliers online or Otticanet.com to find the high-end designer styles for less.
If eye disease runs in your family, taking an everyday eye vitamin (in addition to your multivitamin) can help prevent ocular disease. Look for vitamins that carry vitamins A, C and E, and even copper and zinc. A specific eye vitamin should have these in the recommended quantities, so you won’t have to do any guessing.
Everyone should pack their diets with foods rich in beta-carotene. Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, mangoes, cantaloupe and squash all have this nutrient. Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for your eye health. Not only will the inclusion of these foods help your eyes, you’ll be healthier too! Research has shown that foods with Omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon, eggs and other fish) are also good for your eyes.
Ditch the dirty habit
We all know smoking is bad for our health, but it’s also bad for our eyes. Smoking has been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration and optic-nerve damage, which can lead to bad vision that will have to be corrected through cataract or multifocal contact lenses. It’s yet another reason to quit.
Be a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important. Being overweight can lead to diabetes, which can be a host to eye problems such as glaucoma, vision loss, and diabetic eye disease. Stay in shape and keep an eye out if diabetes runs in your family.
The Eye Doc:
One of the most important aspects of eye health is to regularly visit your optometrist. Not only do they check your prescription, but they also perform important tests that can prevent eye disease if caught early on. In a visit, they will dilate your pupils with drops in a dark room so that they can have a better look at your eyes. A dilated eye exam will enable the eye care professional to examine your eyes and see any damage or disease. So even if you have perfect vision, it’s important to visit every few years to check up on your eyes and note any changes.
It’s important to also know your family’s history when it comes to eye health. If your grandmother has glaucoma, it’s possible that you may be at risk. Take note of any history and discuss it with an eye care professional, before it’s too late.
If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, or are undergoing a major diet or lifestyle change, it’s important to get a referral for an ophthalmologist. They are doctors specializing in diseases of the eye and can assess any risks.