When considering making changes to positively impact your well-being, many aspects of health may jump to the forefront, from taking care of mental and emotional health to ensuring a well-maintained body from head to toes. However, one sometimes overlooked area is your eyes and the importance of vision care.
Despite nearly 4.2 million Americans over the age of 40 suffering from impaired vision, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it’s an aspect of daily health that is sometimes neglected.
To better care for your eyes, consider these tips that put the focus back on eye health:
Schedule an exam
While focusing on enhancing care for your eyes is a productive idea regardless, it’s also important to have your vision and eye health checked regularly by a professional. This can help detect diseases and conditions that cause vision loss and blindness, many of which show little or no symptoms in the early stages, and a doctor can help create a care plan that preserves your eye health.
Understand your family history
Genetics can play a major role in eye health, so talk to family members about their vision history. If anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition that impacts their eyesight, knowing can help determine if you are at a higher risk for developing a hereditary trait.
Use proper lighting
While there are many everyday ways to maintain eye health and function, there is one simple yet overlooked way to take care of your sight: reducing eyestrain.
While three out of four Americans suffer daily from eyestrain, according to an online survey conducted by Russell Research, some people may not realize the lighting they use at work and home may be contributing to the problem.
One way to achieve a reduction in eyestrain is to use indoor lighting such as the OttLite Wellness Series, a line of lamps that closely matches the spectrum of natural daylight to reduce eye fatigue and eyestrain by 51 percent. The line includes four models featuring stylish designs with ClearSun LED technology, high-quality diffusers for clear illumination and multiple brightness settings, all intended to help reduce eyestrain by providing “good” lighting, which means providing enough natural daylight-quality illumination to see clearly without being blinded by excessively high light levels or glare.
The lamps also feature adjustable necks and shades to help direct light to fully illuminate an intended area and adjust for glare from reflective surfaces and smart features like USB ports to conveniently charge your devices.
Clean contact lenses
If you wear contacts, make sure to take proper precautions, which includes cleaning and rinsing each time you wear and remove the lenses. When cleaning, use cleaners approved by an eye doctor, and don’t wear lenses longer than recommended.
Maintain overall health
Living a healthy lifestyle overall can have a positive impact on your eye health, too. For example, maintaining a healthy weight can help avoid risks like diabetes, which can lead to vision loss from diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. In addition, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables aids eye health, along with fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration and blurred vision. It’s important to protect the eyes from harmful UV rays when you’re outside by wearing sunglasses that block out 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Shield your eyes
While sunglasses help block out the sun, protective eyewear like safety glasses and goggles can help shield the eyes while conducting physical activities like yard work or playing sports. Be sure to use safety glasses specifically intended for the use you’ll wear them for, as some varieties are designed for certain activities.
Limit evening screen time
The blue glare from traditional lighting and electronics (TV, cell phones, computers, tablets) used before bed may disrupt sleep patterns and circadian rhythm, and may even lead to sleep disorders, depression, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Take a break
Your eyes work hard when you put extended focus on a computer screen or other activity. Take periodic breaks to avoid eye fatigue. Try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, shift your gaze to something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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