How to Keep Your Vision Healthy

November 19, 2021

Most of us have heard the phrase, “hindsight is 20/20.” Hindsight isn’t useful, however, when it comes to vision.

Thinking you should have done more to protect your eyesight doesn’t help if it becomes compromised because you took it for granted. There are some important things to know about protecting your vision. Let’s take a look.

Vision Night

Fact Versus Fiction

Eyesight may be the one sense most people fear losing. That’s probably why there are so many myths around eyesight, how to damage it, and ways to protect it. Let’s start by debunking some of those myths.

  • Eye exercises preserve your vision — The need for corrective lenses depends on the shape of your eyeball, family history, and the health of the eye tissue. There are no exercises that can affect any of that.
  • Vision gets worse from reading in dim light — Your eyes are more likely to get tired or strained but you won’t damage them. Shine a light on what you’re reading for best results.
  • Eat carrots for better eyesight — Carrots have vitamin A which is good for the eyes, but it’s not as good as fruits and dark green leafy vegetables rich in vitamin C and E.
  • Don’t constantly wear your glasses or contacts — Your vision might be blurry without them but wearing them all the time will not damage your vision. Your eyes might get tired or strained, but they won’t get damaged.
  • Constantly staring at screens is bad for your eyes — Once again, this will tire your eyes, but it won’t do any permanent damage. Blink regularly and rest your eyes every 20 minutes or so.

Salad

Focus on Overall Health

If you keep yourself healthy with a good diet and plenty of exercise you have a better chance of protecting your vision. Staying active and eating right will reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

  • Eat — Dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, and spinach. Salmon, tuna, and halibut are high in omega-3 fatty acids which is good for vision.
  • Move — You don’t have to run marathons or be a gym rat. Just be physically active enough to get your heart rate up on a regular basis.
  • Quit — Stop smoking. It doesn’t just hurt your lungs; it hurts your eyes. It increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration which blurs vision as you age. It can also harm the optic nerve.

Couple

Protect Them

Dirt, debris, chemicals, and sunlight can all damage your vision. That’s why it’s important to be very careful to keep harmful things from getting in your eyes.

  • Wear sunglasses — Look for sunglasses that block out 99% to 100% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
  • Wear protective lenses — Don’t just do this at work. Do it at home when working around the house. Bleach, detergents, and other cleaners can harm your eyes just like debris kicked up by your lawn mower or grass trimmer.
  • Wash up — Keep your hands clean, especially when putting contact lenses in or out of your eyes.
  • Rest them — Staring at screens or reading in the dark will tire your eyes. While you’re not doing permanent damage, you should listen to what your body is telling you.

Vision

Have Your Vision Checked

It’s important to visit your eye doctor on a regular basis, even if you have perfect vision and have never needed contacts or glasses. If you’re healthy, your vision is good, and you have no family history of eye disease, follow these age-appropriate guidelines for eye exams.

  • In your 20s and 30s — Every five to 10 years
  • From 40 to 54 — Every two to four years
  • From 55 to 64 — Every one to three years
  • When you’re 65 — Every one to two years

Take children for an eye exam before they turn three. It’s a good way to identify common eye conditions that could lead to learning problems.

Regular visits to the eye doctor can also help determine if a vision problem is the symptom of a more serious health issue. Blurry vision, for example, could be a symptom of diabetes. An experienced eye doctor can identify problems that might indicate cardiovascular disease, thyroid disease, and autoimmune disorders.

AltaMed can help whether you just need your vision checked or your doctor recommends seeing a specialist. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to learn more or make an appointment.

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Five Essential Tips for Protecting Your Eyes and Vision

August 01, 2019

You take vitamins, you use moisturizer on your skin, and conditioner for your hair… but what have you done for your eyes lately? Healthy eyes and good vision make it possible to live our lives, drive to work and school, and enjoy the world around us. Here are five easy tips to help you safeguard one of your most valuable resources.

Pick the Right Pair of Sunglasses

Woman on the road wearing sunglases

The sun produces ultraviolet, or UV, rays that can cause skin cancer, in addition to a number of eye problems. Protecting your eyes is as simple as putting on a pair of sunglasses with lenses that block UV rays.

Look for sunglasses that have a label stating their UV protection level: if they say UV400 or higher, this means they block 100% of UV rays. Polarized lenses can also help protect your eyes from glare and discomfort.

Besides the lenses, the shape of your sunglasses is also important. Wraparound sunglasses block out more of the sun’s harmful rays. Large, wide lenses also offer additional protection. Make sure the glasses fit snug and close to your eyes.

Protect Your Eyes While Doing Household Chores

Woman constructing wearing safety goggles

Safety goggles aren’t just for people who work construction or lab jobs. Every year, common household chemicals like bleach and other cleaners cause 125,000 eye injuries. Debris from home improvement projects or even gardening can also cause serious damage.

Next time you’re at the hardware store stocking up on supplies, pick up a pair of sturdy safety glasses. Here are just a few examples of how and when you should use them:

  • Any time you’re working with fertilizers, pesticides, and similar chemicals.
  • If you’re using power tools or anything that can create flying debris. You should also turn the tool off when anyone approaches – they need protection, too!
  • When you’re mowing the lawn or using a weed eater.

Once you’re done with your task, wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes or your face.

Choose Eye-Healthy Foods

Kid holding oranges in front of his eyes

As a kid, you were probably told to eat your carrots because they would help with your eyesight. Your mom knew what she was talking about. Carrots are packed with beta carotene, an important nutrient that your body converts to vitamin A, which supports healthy vision. There are plenty of other healthy, nutritious foods that may reduce the risk of age-related decline in eye health by as much as 25%. Here are a few suggestions to add to your shopping list.

  • Fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, and anchovies have high levels of omega-3 oils, which may help keep your eyes moist even if you stare at a computer all day.
  • Heart-healthy walnuts, peanuts, lentils, chia, and flax seeds are also rich in omega-3s and are full of vitamin E, which may offer additional protection from age-related damaged.
  • Lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits are packed with antioxidants.

Stop Smoking and Limit Your Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke

Hand holding a cigarrete

In general, smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body, but it’s especially hard on your eyes. Besides causing cancer and heart disease, smoking can cause dry eye, and increase your risk for cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and optic nerve problems that can lead to blindness. Second-hand smoke can also be a significant eye irritant, so do whatever you can to limit time spent around cigarette smoke.

See the Eye Doctor Regularly

Optometrist pointing at  an optometric table

Even if you have perfect vision and have never needed contacts or glasses, you should visit your eye doctor on a regular basis. If you’re healthy, your vision is good, and you have no family history of eye disease, follow these age-appropriate guidelines for eye exams.

  • In your 20s and 30s: every five to 10 years
  • From 40 - 54: every two to four years
  • From 55 - 64: every one to three years
  • When you reach age 65: every one to two years

If you have a child, taking them for an eye exam before they reach age three is a good way to identify common eye conditions that could lead to learning problems.

Another reason why regular visits to the eye doctor are a good idea: some eye problems may be symptoms of more serious conditions. For example, blurry vision could also be a symptom of diabetes. An experienced eye doctor can also spot problems that might indicate cardiovascular disease, thyroid disease, and autoimmune disorders.

Whether you just need your vision checked or your doctor recommends seeing a specialist, AltaMed can help. To learn more, or to make an appointment, call us at (888) 499-9303.