Close up of 20-year-old woman with healthy eyes
Close up of 20-year-old woman with healthy eyes

Healthy Eyes

Good vision helps you perform well—at home, at work or behind the wheel. That’s why it’s important to take a few simple steps to make sure you help keep your eyesight at its best. A regular eye exam is the best way to protect your eyesight and an easy precaution to take.

Protecting your overall health goes a long way toward also protecting your vision. There are many steps you can take to help maintain eye health as you age.

Eat a Balanced Diet of Healthy Foods

As part of your healthy diet, choose plenty of dark leafy green vegetables (such as spinach, kale and collard greens)—foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C. Essential Omega 3 fatty acids are important to your health and the health of the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision.

The natural benefits of these foods help preserve your overall health and vision. It’s never too late to start eating well. Some foods are particularly healthy for the eyes and should be included as part of a balanced diet:

  • Kale (and other dark leafy green vegetables) are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that are believed to lower your risk for conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Researchers found that women who had diets high in lutein were 23% less likely to develop cataracts than women whose diets were low in lutein. Spinach, collard and turnip greens also contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. Other foods that are a good source of these nutrients include eggs, broccoli, peas and corn.
  • Salmon (and other foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids) have been shown to reduce the risks of developing eye disease later in life. Researchers found that people with diets high in Omega 3 fatty acids were much less likely to develop AMD. Omega 3 fatty acids are found not only in salmon but also in other cold-water fish such as tuna, sardines and halibut. Flaxseed is also a great source of Omega 3 for those less fond of fish.
  • Oranges (and other citrus fruit) are high in an antioxidant critical to eye health—vitamin C. Grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, papayas and lemons are all a great source of vitamin C. Scientists have found that antioxidants can prevent or delay cataracts and AMD and that the eyes need rather high levels of vitamin C in order to function properly. Peaches, red and green peppers and tomatoes offer similar benefits to your health.
  • Black-eyed peas (and other legumes) such as kidney beans, lima beans and peanuts contain zinc—an essential trace mineral that is found in high concentration in the eyes. Researchers suggest that zinc may help protect the eyes from the damaging effects of light. Other good sources of zinc include oysters, beef, pork, lamb, eggs, shellfish, whole grains and wheat germ.
  • Carrots (and other deep orange or yellow fruits and veggies, such as apricots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe) are another healthy addition to your balanced diet. These fruits and vegetables are high in beta-carotene—a nutrient that helps with night vision.

Your eyes are unique and have their own set of nutritional needs. Ocuvite® eye vitamins from Bausch + Lomb are specially designed to provide a balanced combination of nutrients dedicated to the health of your eyes.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Financial Assistance for Eye Care

Eye care can be expensive but maintaining regular eye exams helps protect your eyesight and is an important precaution to take. Regularly visiting your eye doctor for an exam becomes even more important as you reach your 40s and 50s. If you have worn eyeglasses or contact lenses, keep up with the changes in your vision by updating your prescription.

There are many state and national programs that provide financial assistance for people in need of eye care or corrective eyewear. If you need help covering the cost of eye care, look into the following organizations:

  • The National Eye Institutelink-out icon, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers a list of helpful resources for free or low-cost options
  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare Americalink-out icon provides help to find free or discounted eye care

More Tips for Healthy Eyes

Healthy habits, such as eating well and being physically active, can lower your risk for diseases and conditions that lead to eye problems. Here are some other steps you can take:

  • Get + Stay Active: Exercise improves blood circulation, which improves oxygen levels to the eyes and aids in the removal of toxins. It can lower your risk of health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
  • Stop (or Never Start) Smokinglink-out icon: Smoking is not only bad for your lungs, but also for your eyes and the rest of your overall health. Smoking increases your risk of diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. If you’re ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support.
  • Get a Good Night's Sleep: While sleeping, our eyes benefit from continuous lubrication while also clearing out irritants accumulated during the day, such as allergens, dust and smoke. You’ll feel the difference when you get the sleep you need. Good rest will support the health of your eyes.
  • Wear Sunglasses: To protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, choose sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. Remember to wear them in all seasons and on cloudy days as harmful UV rays pass through clouds. Also, wearing a hat with a brim will greatly reduce the amount of UV radiation coming in around the sides of your sunglasses.
  • Wash Your Hands: Keeping your hands clean is important when it comes to your eyes, especially if you’re a contact lens wearer. Before you touch your eye—and before you put in or remove a contact lens—wash your hands with a mild soap and dry with a lint-free towel. Some germs and bacteria that come from your hands can cause eye infections, like bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye). Bacteria, germs and viruses are easily transmitted from the hands to the surface of the eyes so be sure to always clean your hands well before touching your eyes.

Computers, Smartphones + Your Eye Health

Anyone who has spent a few hours on the computer has probably felt some of the effects. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we remain mindful of our screen time. Studies show that negative effects on eye health accompany increased smartphone usage.

This condition is also known as Computer Vision Syndrome; it encompasses a range of symptoms as a result of our increasingly prolonged use of digital electronic devices. Looking at any electronic digital device (such as a computer, smartphone or tablet) for lengthy periods of time can have negative effects on your vision and well-being.

Here are some other tips to help when you're on your computer:

  • Keep your computer screen within 20 to 24 inches from your eyes
  • Keep the top of your computer screen slightly below eye level
  • Adjust lighting to minimize glare on the screen and increase contrast levels on your electronic devices
  • Blink frequently
  • Take a break every 20 minutes to focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds
  • Use artificial tears/eye dropslink-out icon to refresh your eyes when they feel dry