Your eyes are an important part of your overall health. Follow these 10 tips to keep the windows to your soul feeling great and functioning well for years to come.
1. Eat right to protect your sight. You’ve probably heard that carrots are good for your vision. A diet that’s also rich in fresh fruit, green leafy vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids (the kind you get from salmon and tuna) will help provide the nutrients your eyes need to function at their best.
2. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity and inactive lifestyles can lead to diabetes, which sometimes results in blindness. Regular exercise will help keep your eyes, as well as the rest of your body, in good shape.
3. Quit smoking or never start. It turns out that smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked the cigarette habit to increased risk for age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage.
4. Be cool — wear shades. Sunglasses are a classically cool fashion accessory, but they also perform the critical function of protecting your peepers from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When shopping for shades, look for ones that block both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
5. Grab some goggles. Nothing ruins a ball game faster than an injury. When playing sports, wear protective goggles to keep the fun moving along. Protective eyewear also defends you against chemical spills and flying debris when you’re working around the house or yard.
6. Give your eyes a little help. As we age, many of us will need reading glasses. Fortunately, readers come in a variety of fabulous styles — why not turn that essential item into a fashion statement? And don’t forget the eye cream; it’s a must for soothing the delicate skin below your eyes.
7. Give ’em a rest now and then. If you spend lots of time staring at a computer or phone, your eyes are likely to feel dry and/or fatigued, because we blink less often during near-task activities. Use the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look 20 feet into the distance.
8. Avoid the eye-rubbing. Excessive rubbing may do more harm than good. It wears down the skin around your eyes, elevates eye pressure and can even cause corneal abrasions. If your eyes itch, address the source: Avoid candle smoke, pet hair and other irritants.
9. Go easy on the headstands. Standing on your head can cause eye pressure to skyrocket, which is likely to exacerbate optic-nerve damage such as glaucoma. In yoga class, anyone with glaucoma should avoid headstands and opt for gentler poses instead.
10. Clean hands, clean lenses. To keep the risk of infection at bay, remember to wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Disinfect your contacts daily, as instructed.
Many common vision problems can be remedied with glasses or contacts, so be sure to get regular exams from a professional. Vision is precious. Start practicing healthy eye care habits now — and keep seeing your best for years and years to come.