According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 37 million adults in America have age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma, all of which can cause visual impairment or blindness.
However, recent studies show that making healthy choices and getting regular eye exams can help reduce a person’s risk of vision loss.
In support of Healthy Vision Month in May, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is encouraging everyone to take charge of their eye health and preserve their sight by following some simple tips from the National Eye Institute:
Get an Eye Exam
More than 23 million American adults have never had an eye exam. Why? If your eyes feel healthy, it’s easy to assume they are healthy. But getting an eye exam is the only way to be sure.
When it comes to your vision, you may not realize you could see better with glasses or contacts. And many serious eye diseases don’t have any warning signs — so you could have an eye problem and not know it. Getting an eye exam is the best way to stay on top of your eye health!
Know Your Family’s Eye Health History
We get our eye color from our parents, but did you know that many eye diseases can run in families, too? Talking to your family members about their eye health can help you find out if you’re at higher risk for eye disease. If you learn that eye diseases run in your family, talk with your eye doctor.
Protect Your Eyes – At Work & Play
About 2,000 people in the United States get a serious work-related eye injury every day. And get this: people with sports-related eye injuries end up in the ER every 13 minutes!
The good news is you can help protect your eyes from injury by wearing protective eyewear, like safety glasses, goggles, and safety shields. To make sure you have the right kind of protective eyewear and you’re using it correctly, talk with your eye doctor.
Give Your Eyes a Rest
Do your eyes every feel achy at the end of the day? If you spend a lot of time at the computer (or focusing on another specific thing), you may sometimes forget to blink — and that can tire out your eyes.
Try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your work and focus about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This reduces eyestrain and helps your eyes feel better at the end of the day.
Wear Sunglasses (even on cloudy days)
Be cool and wear your shades! They can protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays — and help keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp.
When shopping for shades, look for a pair that blocks out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation. Bonus: add a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection!
Eat Eye-Healthy Foods
It’s true: carrots are good for your eyes! In fact, a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables — especially dark leafy greens, like spinach or kale — is important for keeping your eyes healthy.
Research also shows that fish high in omega-3 fatty acids — like salmon, tuna, and halibut — can help protect your vision.
Stay at a Healthy Weight
If you’re overweight or obese, you’re more likely to develop diabetes and other health problems that can lead to vision loss. If you’re concerned about your weight, talk to your doctor.
Get Plenty of Physical Activity
Regular physical activity comes with a lot of great benefits. It can boost your mood, reduce stress, help you stay at a healthy weight — and protect you from serious eye disease!
Anything that gets your heart beating faster — like taking a quick walk or dancing — can help keep your eyes healthy.