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Healthy Eyes

A regular eye exam is the best way to protect your eyesight – and an easy precaution to take. Here are more tips for maintaining proper eye health – as well as a healthy lifestyle.

Are You in a High-Risk Category?

  • A family history of eye disease or congenital eye disorders
  • Diabetes or hypertension
  • A visually demanding or eye-hazardous job
  • African American or Native American heritage

If you are in a high-risk category, there are things you can do to help minimize your risk. Eat a balanced diet, avoid smoking, protect your eyes in the sun and get plenty of exercise.

Eat a Balanced Diet

fruit vegetablesAs part of your healthy diet, choose foods rich in antioxidants, like Vitamins A and C; foods like leafy, green vegetables and fish.  Many foods – especially fish – contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that are important to the health of the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision.

An inadequate intake of antioxidants, consumption of alcohol or saturated fats may create free-radical reactions that can harm the macula – the central part of the retina. High-fat diets can also cause deposits that constrict blood flow in the arteries. The eyes are especially sensitive to this, given the small size of the blood vessels that feed them.

Don't Smoke

Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress. While the connection has not been clearly identified, it is known that smoking increases your risk for a variety of health conditions affecting the eye. To help you quit, visit the American Lung Association’s free online smoking cessation program – Freedom From Smoking® Online – at www.ffsonline.org.

Exercise

Exercise improves blood circulation, which improves oxygen levels to the eyes and the removal of toxins.

man athlete

Wear Sunglasses

To protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, choose sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. Also, wearing a hat with a brim will greatly reduce the amount of UV radiation slipping around the side of your sunglasses.

Pregnancy and Vision

Some women experience changes in their eyesight when they are pregnant.  Hormone levels during pregnancy can change the thickness of your cornea temporarily causing blurred vision.  You may need different or additional vision correction for a few months. If you wear contact lenses, you may find that your eyes are uncomfortably dry during your pregnancy. The good news is that your eyes will return to normal shortly after your baby arrives.