Helen Keller had said that of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful. Indeed, without our little peepers, how could we possibly admire this beautiful world? Did you know that 80% of what we learn, we owe it to our eyes? And did you know that the human eye can distinguish approximately 10 million different colours? All of this is just a testament to how amazing our eyes are.

Now let us see how we can take care of them.

  • ADOPT A HEALTHY DIET

What we eat everyday affects our eye health directly. Grave eye conditions can be avoided if we include vitamins, nutrients, and minerals (known as antioxidants) in our diet. Some essential antioxidants contain- lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. We should try to consume a balanced diet consisting of –

  1. Any oily fish like salmon and tuna
  2. Vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards
  3. Non Meat protein sources like eggs, nuts and beans
  4. Citrus fruits such as oranges
  5. Oysters and pork

A balanced diet also keeps diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration (also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD), glaucoma and poor night vision at bay. Keep a check on your consumption of processed foods as they contain unhealthy fats and lots of sugar. Staying healthy eliminates the chances of obesity and type 2 diabetes, one of the leading causes of blindness in adults.

  • SAY GOODBYE TO SMOKING

We know that smoking causes heart disease and lung cancer. But what is lesser known is the fact that smoking leads to vision loss as well. It results in severe issues like cataracts, optic nerve damage, macular degeneration, uveitis, and dry eyes.

It is never too late to quit this filthy habit. If you are someone who has tried to quit, repeatedly, keep at it. We know you can do it. See your doctor if you are facing any difficulties.

  • PUT ON THOSE SUNGLASSES

Apart from making a fashion statement, sunglasses are of tremendous help when it comes to the protection of the eyes. The right pair of shades will protect your eyes from that dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Overexposure to these rays causes cataracts, photokeratitis, pinguecula, pterygium, and macular degeneration.

Wrap-around sunglasses provide you with peripheral coverage and helps protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses help in reducing glare, making images sharp and clear, and boosting visual clarity and comfort.

Some contact lenses provide UV ray protection. If not, it is advisable to wear sunglasses for an extra layer of protection. 

  • WEAR SAFETY EYEWEAR

Maybe you’re remodelling your kitchen, mowing your lawn or building a simple birdhouse. Nevertheless, there’s going to be debris and airborne materials everywhere. Outdoor sports like ice hockey, racquetball, lacrosse can lead to eye injuries. Most of the sports-related injuries are caused by basketball or baseball, followed by water sports, and racket sports.

Here are some ways through which you can protect your eyes –

  1. Purchasing the correct eyewear and wearing it regularly is of utmost importance. Wear appropriate sports goggles or safety glasses. 
  2. Polycarbonate lenses are ideal for these situations. They are not only impact-resistant but are also the thinnest and lightest lenses available. 
  3. Helmets absorb the shock of fast-moving objects and sudden collisions between players and also protect your head and face.
  4. Blunt trauma causes most of the sports-related eye injuries, and therefore wearing a face shield is highly recommended. They also prevent injuries ranging from mild abrasions to deep cuts.
  • TAKE BREAKS FROM YOUR COMPUTER

In this day and age of constantly evolving technology, it isn’t easy to not be with our electronic devices for long. Nevertheless, it can cause problems like eyestrain, blurry vision, myopia, dry eyes, headaches, and neck, back, and shoulder pain.

Here is how you can keep a check on yourself to avoid these problems-

  1. Make sure you are using the correct pair of glasses or contact lenses – one that is up to date and is suitable for looking at the computer screen.
  2. If you are suffering from eyestrain that won’t go away, talk to your doctor about glasses suitable for you.
  3. Make sure your eyes and the computer screen are at the correct level with respect to each other. The ideal position would be the top of the screen being slightly below the eye level.
  4. Keep the glare down by adjusting the screen position. Use an anti-glare screen if possible.
  5. Choose a comfortable and supportive chair which allows your feet to touch the ground with the keyboard right in front of you. 
  6. To avoid dry eyes, talk to your doctor about anti-reflective coatings or special lenses. Using eye drops and staying hydrated also helps.
  7. The 20-20-20 rule is a practice that involves looking away from your computer screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds and focusing on an item that is 20 feet away from you. This helps in reducing fatigue and strain on the eye muscles. 
  • GO FOR REGULAR CHECKUPS

Eye exams are a must for people of all ages. They help to spot diseases like glaucoma that have no symptoms. It is crucial to identify them at an early stage when they are treatable.

Depending on your eye health needs, there are two types of doctors you can choose from:

  1. Ophthalmologists are doctors who provide general eye care, treat eye diseases and can perform eye surgery.
  2. Optometrists are also doctors who provide general eye care and are capable of treating most eye diseases, but they don’t do eye surgeries. 

An eye exam could include –

  1. Talking about your medical history – personal and family
  2. Vision tests to identify if you have myopia, hypermetropia, or presbyopia.
  3. Tests to understand if your eyes work well together
  4. Glaucoma tests by checking eye pressure and the optic nerve.

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