The Long View: Optimal Eye Health
By Hannah Woit
Ironically, we often overlook our eyes when it comes to health. Considering it is one of our most precious organs, it may be time for you to take a look at how you’re doing when it comes to the necessary steps you need to take to protect them.
1. Schedule an eye exam.
Glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration caused by aging, and other common eye illnesses often are only detectable once they begin through a dilated eye exam. The more regularly you get an exam, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to catch issues before they get progressively serious. If you’re 20-39 years old, the suggested range is 2-5 years. For those 40-64, every 2-4 years, and for 65 years or older, every 1-2 years. If you have diabetes, have had an eye injury or surgery, have family members who have had glaucoma, or have other risk factors, you may need an exam more frequently.
2. Look at your plate.
It’s not just carrots that help protect your vision. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale support eye health, as do omega-3 fatty acid rich fish. Opt for coldwater options like salmon or tuna. Lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E are also eye boosters.
3. Don some shades.
Sunglasses that block out at least 99% of UV-A and UV-B rays are best for preventing eye damage on those sunny summer days.
4. Break once in a while.
Workplace-related eye issues go beyond goggles for scientists or protective eyewear for construction workers. Just like your muscles after a hard workout, your eyes can get tired after a long time of staring at a computer screen or focusing on one point. When we do this we often forget to blink. The National Institute of Health recommends implementing the 20-20-20 strategy: After each 20-minute interval of computer work, look at things 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. Set a timer on your computer or phone if that helps!