If you eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and manage stress effectively, you are maintaining healthy habits that could contribute to a long and robust life. However, there are many other factors you should consider when managing your overall health and wellness. Good vision is often taken for granted when it is not a current concern. But taking good care of your eyes should be a top priority for everyone, even those with excellent eyesight.
Scheduling Annual Exams
Preventative care is a crucial step in taking care of your eyes. It's important to see an optometrist every year for an eye exam to test more than just your field and range of vision. Optometrists can perform a series of simple tests to ensure you are seeing the world clearly and aren't developing any major problems or diseases. Often times, changes in vision can go unrecognized by the patient because the differences are so gradual. It's important to have a professional check to make sure you aren’t in the early stages of a serious condition. You may find yourself surprised to learn that your eyesight isn't as accurate as you assumed. Correcting impaired vision through glasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery can make a major difference in managing eye strain and headaches, as well as improving your overall quality of life. It's also an important safety concern, especially if you drive or operate machinery on a regular basis.
Recognizing Common Eye Diseases
Many people assume that some changes in their vision are normal and will go away on their own. In truth, they may be symptoms of a more serious problem. Discharge coming from the eye could just be due to sensitivity or mild allergies. However, it may be a sign of conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. This is a highly contagious disease that could cause serious problems if left untreated. Many people may need to use saline drops from time to time to keep their eyes moisturized and to relieve irritation. But if you find yourself reaching for them multiple times a day or several days a week, you may have a treatable condition known as chronic dry eye.
Other common eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, are more prevalent in people over the age of 60. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes clouded and results in blurry or hazy vision. This disease can be treated with surgery, and is a lower risk for people who wear sunglasses regularly. Glaucoma is a visual impairment caused by a buildup of too much pressure in the eye. While there is no cure for glaucoma, it can be treated and may not result in loss of vision if it is caught in its early stages. Both of these diseases must be treated by an ophthalmologist, such as Rohit Varma, who specializes in diseases of the eye. If you experience any symptoms of an eye disease, you should schedule an appointment immediately. Your optometrist may refer you to an ophthalmologist if they recognize any early symptoms of eye disease at your checkup.
Consuming Important Nutrients
A balanced diet can directly impact your visual health. Eating a wide variety of healthy foods is the best way to nourish your whole body, including your eyes. Some of the best foods for your eyes include red bell peppers, salmon, and eggs. Lutein is especially beneficial for your vision and is most prolific in carrots and leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale. It's important to remember that your body can't make lutein on its own, so it needs to consume it. Vitamins A, E, and C are very good for your visual health, along with omega 3's. If you feel that you aren't able to consume enough of these vitamins in their natural state, you may want to consider taking supplements to increase your intake. Be sure to consult a physician before starting a new supplement. Certain vitamins could impact medications, cause allergic reactions, or result in adverse side effects for some people.
Practicing Healthy Vision Habits
There are some simple ways you can care for your eyes at home to maintain good eye health. Try to limit screen time as much as possible. Too much can cause eye strain and lead to headaches, as well as more complicated problems over time. Always wash your hands before handling anything that goes into your eye, such as drops or contact lenses. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes to prevent irritation and injury. If you use contact lenses, be sure to clean and store them properly, and throw them away once they become damaged or expired. Using the same lenses for longer than their prescribed life can lead to bacteria or buildup in the eye. Finally, talk to your optometrist about any exercises they might recommended to help you strengthen your eyes and reduce strain and pressure.
The key to caring for your vision is being proactive. Healthy habits and practices can help you prevent serious issues or detect and treat them before they become a problem.