Healthy eyes and clear vision are vital to our everyday lives — we use our eyes to communicate, experience and to tell our stories. But not many of us take the time to care for them.
Here’s some advice on how to maintain healthy eyes well into your golden years.
Eat Right for Good Sight
A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is as good for your eyes as it is for your heart. And this connection is unsurprising since your eyes also rely on arteries for oxygen and nutrients. Opt for leafy greens, in particular spinach and kale, which are high in lutein and zeaxanthin. These two nutrients lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Research also shows that eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids — think salmon, tuna and sardines — reduces the risk of eye diseases later in life.
Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their main purpose is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Buy a pair that blocks out 99 to 100 per cent of UVA and UVB radiation. A suitable pair should carry a label that reads “UV absorption up to 400nm” — this is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption.
When playing certain sports, it is essential that you have protective eyewear. Opt for a polycarbonate lens because it is 10 times stronger than other plastic alternatives. They can be purchased at sporting goods stores.
Be Screen Smart
Thanks to modern technology, most of us are no longer exposed to ultraviolet light emitted from old-school computer screens of yesteryear. But that does not mean your eyes are immune to flat-panel screen monitors. Spending long stretches of time focussing on a liquid-crystal display screen can cause eye fatigue, prompting eye strain. Keep to the 20/20 rule: take a break every 20 minutes and look 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This will help to reduce eyestrain, which may blur your vision and cause other discomfort.
If you thought smoking only affected the lungs and heart, think again. Research has linked smoking to an increase in risk of AMD, cataracts and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness. If you are a habitual smoker, try and quit. This will significantly lower your risk of vision loss while avoiding a string of other health complications.