Do you currently have good eye health and want to keep it that way? Maybe you’ve already experienced a decline in your eyesight and would like to slow the aging process? Most people over the age of 40 experience what is known as “old eyes” because lenses lose flexibility with age. As a result, by age 50 many require reading glasses.1
Thankfully, good eye health is something over which we have a certain amount of control. Below are some basic care tips from lifestyle changes to ideas for reducing eye strain, and all of which are partners in maintaining healthy eyes for a lifetime.
- Avoid staying outdoors for very long under direct sunlight without protective eyewear. Sun exposure increases risk for cataracts and melanoma on the eyelids.
- When choosing sunglasses, choose ones with black-gray or green-gray lenses, 100% UVA and UVB protection, and that have a wrap design.
- Make sure to always have proper lighting when reading. Eliminate glare as much as possible.
- Visit the eye doctor regularly. Dr. David Lipschitz says that “No matter your age, remember that eye examinations are essential. Not only will serious medical conditions be identified early, but just as importantly, you will also learn what you need to do to assure optimal eye health.”2 Patients with glasses or contacts, children and seniors should get annual checkups. Everyone else should visit every other year.
- Maintain good posture when working, reading and writing. Avoid reclining when reading and even watching television. Poor posture and indirect viewing channels fatigue the eyes much more quickly.
- Get involved in outdoor activities that require using distance vision. All of the muscles in your body need stretching, including your eye muscles.
- Exercise at least three times a week. Doing so lowers the risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) by up to 70%. AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 60. Physical activity improves blood circulation, which boosts oxygen to the eyes, reduces inflammation and aids in the removal of toxins.3
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases the odds of getting AMD.3
In addition to incorporating the above lifestyle changes, healthy eyes also need to be protected from digital damage due to “Computer Vision Syndrome.” CVS affects more than 70% of the 143 million Americans who work on computers daily. Evidence shows that this syndrome can cause AMD, and that younger and younger eyes are now being impacted due to our digital society.4 Take the following steps to protect eyes from CVS.
- Take short pauses when working on a computer. Lack of proper relaxation leads to worsening eyesight. Apply the 20/20/20 rule – rest every 20 minutes by staring at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.3
- Decrease screen glare to help reduce eye strain.
- Wear computer glasses with anti-reflection lens coating while working at the computer as well as while driving. Doing so can reduce the halo effect that strains eyes.1
Fortunately, we do not have to simply live with deteriorating eyesight. As William H. Bates, MD, says, “The ways in which people strain to see are infinite, and the methods used to relieve the strain must be almost equally varied. Whatever the method that brings most relief, however, the end is always the same, namely relaxation.”5 Protect one of your most valuable senses, your eyesight, by employing the above suggestions that allow your eyes to relax and recover from the strain put upon them daily.
(1) “10 Steps to Maintaining Good Eye Health”; www.rlrouse.com/eye-health.html
(2) “Skipping Eye Exam Shows a Lack of Vision”; June 24, 2011 Three Rivers Commercial (www.threeriversnews.com)
(3) “wise eyes” “contact solution” “digital damage”; August 2011 Family Circle (www.familycircle.com)
(4) “Issue 128: Jeepers Creepers”; www.extraordinaryhealth.com
(5) “Perfect Sight Without Glasses”; http://www.visionsofjoy.org/quotes.htm
(6) “Managing Electronic Display Eye Strain“; Safety Glasses USA Blog