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October 03, 2023

What you can do to keep your eyes healthy

Adult Health Eyes

Content sponsored by IBC-Native-100323-EyeHealth

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Your eyes are your windows to the world. They help you navigate your surroundings safely, gather information, and communicate effectively. For these reasons and many others, making eye health a priority is essential for your physical and mental well-being.

Several factors can significantly affect your eyesight. Here are some ways to make sure your eyes stay healthy and vibrant.

Maintain a nutrient-rich diet

Nutrition plays a large role in maintaining good eye health. Nutrients that protect your eyes and help them function properly include vitamins A, C, and E; antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin; omega-3 fatty acids; zinc; and beta-carotene. You can get these nutrients through foods like kale, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, fatty fish, nuts, and red meat.

Exercise regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity is great for your overall health in general, but it can also prevent conditions from developing that may impact your vision, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for eye health because sleeping allows the fluids that hydrate your eyes to circulate. That’s why getting less than five hours of sleep a night may result in dry eyes. It also can make your eyes overly sensitive to light, give you blurred vision, and cause involuntary eye twitching.

Don’t smoke

Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, both of which can severely impact your vision.

Schedule regular eye examinations

One of the most important steps you can take to maintain your eye health is regularly seeing an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. These exams are crucial for detecting eye conditions early. How often you need an exam depends on your age, the state of your eyes, and your risk for developing serious eye conditions or diseases. If you’re between 18 and 64 years old, an exam is recommended at least once every two years. If you’re 65 or older, annual exams are recommended.

Practice proper eye hygiene

You can reduce your chance of getting an eye infection like conjunctivitis (pink eye) by practicing good hygiene.

One of the simplest ways to do that is to avoid rubbing your eyes. Rubbing can cause irritation and damage to your cornea. Infections can also be caused by germs that are transferred from your hands to your eyes.

Another way to practice good hygiene is to properly care for your contact lenses. Wash your hands before handling contacts, store them correctly, and use cleaning solution to disinfect them. You should also avoid wearing your contacts while sleeping, showering, or swimming.

If you wear eye makeup, you should remove it before sleeping. Avoid sharing makeup with other people to avoid infections, and throw out products that are past their expiration date.

Keep your eyes hydrated

If you’re rubbing your eyes because they’re dry, moisturize them instead. You can do that in many ways, including with eye drops, saline solution, artificial tears, or by sleeping with a humidifier near your bed.

If your eyes are red, don’t overuse eyedrops with vasoconstrictors (such as naphazoline and tetrahydrozoline) to treat them. Vasoconstrictors constrict blood vessels, which reduces redness but also restricts blood flow to the eye. Using eyedrops with them for too long can lead to a cycle in which the eyedrops become less effective.

Use protective eyewear

Perhaps the most basic thing you can do to protect your eyes is wear protective eyewear when playing sports or performing tasks that pose a danger to your eyes, such as working with machinery or hazardous chemicals. You also should wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation.

Reduce screen time

If you spend a lot of time staring at a computer or phone screen, it’s important to give your eyes a chance to relax. You can do that by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Practicing these simple proactive measures can help keep your eyesight in tip-top shape, allowing you to take in all the beautiful sights around you with ease.

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