10 Tips to Save Your Vision

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You only have one pair of eyes, and it is up to you to protect and preserve them. Not all eye diseases are preventable, but things like scheduling regular check-ups, eating a healthy diet, and wearing sunglasses can help.

March is Save Your Vision Month, so here are some small tips that offer a big impact we think you can benefit from. By following these tips, you may reduce your chances of vison loss in the future.

1. Wear Sunglasses

Next time you’re out in the sun, make sure you’ve packed your sunglasses! Wearing sunglasses is beneficial all year round because they block powerful Ultraviolet radiation (UV). The danger of exposure to UV rays builds up over time, and can create serious eye problems such as cataracts and cancer. Check the label: be sure to wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays.

2. Don’t Smoke

Smoking has been directly linked to many eye illnesses. Most importantly, smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration as you get older. If you are currently in the process of trying to quit, ask your doctor for suggestions or try counseling.

3. Eat Right

Sometimes the best medicine is a healthy diet. Carrots aren’t the only vegetable considered good for your vision! A vitamin-rich diet consisting of colorful fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration later in life in addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight.

4. Get a Baseline Eye Exam

Turning 40 is a major milestone—and the right time to get a baseline eye exam. If you have a family history of eye diseases, diabetes, and/or high blood pressure, the American Academy of Ophthalmology also recommends that you to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible so the impact of these diseases on your vision can be monitored.

5. Eye Protection

Over 2.5 million eye injuries happen every year in the United States, but many of them could have been prevented had people worn eye protection. This goes for sports, home repairs, gardening, and cleaning. For most repair work, follow the American National Standards Institute-approved protective eyewear; for sports, wearing the standard or certified eye protection will be sufficient.

6. Know Your Family History

Genetics can play a role in vision problems that occur in otherwise healthy eyes. Two of the leading causes of blindness in adults—glaucoma and macular degeneration—are inherited in many cases. If you have someone in your family with a history of eye illnesses, let your doctor know.

7. Early Intervention

Most eye diseases can be treated easily if they are discovered early. If not, these conditions will worsen and lead to serious vision loss and even blindness. Regular check- ups are the best way to catch these potentially devastating eye diseases.

8. Know Your Eye Care Provider

There are many eye care providers who specialize in different fields—ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians are all important for your eyes, but they each play very different roles. Make sure you are getting the right help for the right problem.

9. Contact Lens Care

While more than 30 million people in the United States wear contact lenses safely every day, there are still some risks involved if you don’t follow the proper instructions. Sleeping in contacts, wetting contacts with saliva or water, and using disposable contact lenses beyond their wear can result in corneal ulcers, severe pain, and even vision loss.

10. Be Aware of Eye Fatigue

Technology is important and fun, but staring at the screen for long periods of time can create eye fatigue. Fatigue can be caused by dry eyes, presbyopia (lenses lose elasticity), or wearing glasses with lenses that are not properly centered. Try to follow the 20-20- 20 rule: Look up from your work every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If eye fatigue still persists, talk to your ophthalmologist.

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