Your optometrist doesn’t have to tell you your eyes are an essential part of life. Eyes allow us to see and interact with the world around us, but some people take their vision for granted and neglect it—until problems start appearing. Taking care of your eyes is a critical aspect of maintaining your quality of life, so don’t forget to give your eyes the attention they deserve.
Your eyesight can get worse over time from a variety of causes and conditions. Small adjustments to your day-to-day life, like utilizing protective eyewear, practicing proper nutrition, and visiting your optometrist for regular eye exams, can help you keep your eyes healthy and clear.
Here are 10 tips to help you protect your vision:
1: Practice Proper Eye Hygiene
Practicing proper eye hygiene is one of the best ways to protect your vision. Whether from dust, bacteria, or other sources, it’s possible to contaminate your eyes with things that can hurt them. Washing your hands regularly before touching or rubbing your eyes can make a big difference in how healthy they are.
If you wear contact lenses, you should always make sure they’re clean and stored in a sterile environment—and always wash your hands before handling them. Expired contact solution can lead to a bacterial buildup that can seriously damage your eyes, so it’s best to make sure your contacts and solution are within their expiry date.
2: Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet isn’t just important for your overall health—it’s one of the best ways to protect your vision. Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can protect your eyes from damage and degeneration and help prevent other eye-related problems.
Eyes love it when you eat foods like:
- Leafy vegetables like kale or spinach
- Citrus fruits
3: Protect Your Eyes
Protective eyewear is something many people neglect, but it’s one of the most important things for your overall safety. This is especially true for your eyes. Wearing safety goggles in a hazardous environment and protective glasses when playing high-intensity sports can help you avoid potential risks!
Eye safety isn’t just about protective eyewear, though—a good pair of sunglasses can go a long way. Prescription sunglasses with full UV protection can make a big difference when it comes to protecting your eyes against light rays while providing clear vision.
4: Regulate Your Screen Time
The use of digital devices like computers, smartphones, and tablets has become an almost-essential part of our everyday lives. However, prolonged use of devices with screens can lead to digital eye strain.
The symptoms of digital eye strain include:
- Eye fatigue
- Irritation or discomfort
- Aches in your back or neck
- Dry eyes
Regulating your screen time and taking breaks can help reduce your risk of developing digital eye strain.
5: Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated can help more than you think, and that doesn’t just apply to your overall health. When you’re dehydrated, your risk of developing dry eyes and the associated symptoms can increase. Drinking plenty of water can help you avoid dry eyes and the potential complications of dry eye disease.
6: Keep an Eye on Your Health
There are many health conditions that can affect your eyes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If these are left unmanaged, they can cause vision problems. This plays into many of the other tips here—taking care of your health and focusing on your nutrition can help support your eyes.
7: Limit Alcohol & Tobacco
Tobacco and alcohol can seriously damage your eyes and increase your risk of developing sight-threatening conditions. Age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and dry eye syndrome are all eye conditions associated with the use of tobacco and alcohol.
Overall, smoking is extremely hazardous to your overall health and is best avoided. Quitting can help reduce your risk of developing many serious health conditions later in life.
8: Avoid Exposing Your Eyes to Danger
It’s important to do everything you can to protect your eyes. This is especially true when it comes to working with hazardous materials or chemicals. Make sure you’re always following the instructions carefully, try to avoid letting fumes touch your eyes, and don’t forget your protective eyewear.
If you do experience an eye injury of any kind, it’s important to seek emergency eye care as soon as possible.
9: Sleep Well
Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining your eye health. A lack of sleep can lead to many different problems, including eye strain and dry eyes. In fact, a lack of sleep can lead to many potential overall health problems, such as memory problems, high blood pressure, and other serious concerns.
It helps to follow a consistent sleep schedule. Even if you can’t fall asleep immediately, try to go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends. Following a sleep schedule can help regulate your body’s sleep cycle and support your overall quality of sleep.
Following a routine before going to sleep can also help a great deal. Taking a warm bath, reading a good book, listening to calming music, or optimizing your bedroom can make the environment much more relaxing. You should also try to avoid screens before bed, as the light may affect your sleep.
10: Schedule Regular Comprehensive Eye Exams
There are many things that can help protect your vision, but there’s one thing you should always do: regularly schedule comprehensive eye exams. Visiting an eye care professional for routine exams can help catch new conditions early and create a treatment plan that can help prevent serious symptoms.
Even if you have no known vision problems, regular eye exams are essential—it’s better to be proactive than reactive! Many eye conditions are easier to treat in their early stages. Regular eye exams are essential for detecting those conditions early and responding with treatment.