4 Simple Tips to Promote Eye Health (Part 1 in Our 3-Part Health Series)

According to PreventBlindness.org, over two million individuals over the age of 50 have age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Even further, roughly 24 million adults over 40 have been diagnosed with cataracts. While genetics is a factor in eye health, there are several big steps you can take to promote long-term eye health.

1). Watch Your Total Health

When your mother told you to eat your carrots, she really was looking out for your eye health. Diets full of fruits, vegetables and fish have been shown to sustain healthy eyes longer. Plant and fish-based diets are also associated with lower rates of obesity, a major contributor to diabetes-related blindness and even cataracts. Next time you’re chowing down on a leafy green salad or enjoying your parmesan-crusted salmon, know that you’re also extending your history of good eyesight.

2). Keep Your Peepers Protected

The National Eye Institute (NEI) advises everyone to wear proper eye protection. This means safety glasses and shields when tasks involve risks (like welding). It also means proper protection for exposure to everyday lighting. If you’re going to be outside, wear sunglasses (and make sure they offer 99% UVA/UVB protection). If you spend long intervals looking at artificially lit screens (like computer screens, smartphones and e-readers), you can protect your eyes with glasses designed to filter blue light. No matter the activity, proper eyewear is key to sustaining long-term eye health.

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3). Skip the Cigs

No shocker here, but cigarettes negatively affect eye health. And, while e-cigarettes may be better for your lungs, the vapors can contribute to dry eyes and irritation. If you haven’t started, it’s best to avoid all forms of cigarettes completely. If you’re a smoker looking to quit, add eye health to the long list of motivating factors for ending your addiction.

4). Take a Screen Break

As mentioned above, blue light can negatively affect eye health. Because of this, it’s a good idea to take frequent breaks when spending long hours in front of digital screens. The NEI recommends the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes take a 20-second break and look 20 feet ahead. Specialized lenses designed for digital use can also help protect eyes from fatigue and strain due to prolonged screen use.

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While these tips certainly aren’t the only ways to ensure eye health, they are excellent habits to incorporate into any healthy lifestyle.

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