It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul— whether that’s true or not, they’re definitely our windows to the world around us. The American Optometric Association has designated March National Save Your Vision Month to promote eye health awareness. This March, we’re looking at 5 things you can do now to protect your vision in the long term.
- Get a comprehensive eye exam yearly.
If possible, get an exam that includes eye dilation, which can detect many common eye diseases not long after their onset, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. These conditions don’t typically have any warning signs, so you may not otherwise know you have them until they have significantly progressed.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule.
With all the time we’ve spent using digital devices in the past year, many of us may feel our eyes getting weaker. One way to combat eye fatigue and digital eyestrain is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
- Wear protective eyewear.
This includes sunglasses, which can help delay the formation of cataracts and prevent retinal damage. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so make sure you’re wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. It’s also important to wear goggles, safety shields, and eye guards whenever you’re doing an activity that requires it, such as sports or home repairs. For many jobs, too, proper eyewear is a daily requirement.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
You probably already know about carrots, which are rich in beta-carotene that your body uses to make Vitamin A. Dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens also contribute to good eye health, since they are rich in vitamins C and E as well as several minerals and antioxidants. The omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood can also help protect your vision, specifically against age-related macular degeneration.
- Know your family history of eye health.
Many eye conditions (such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and even near- and farsightedness) appear to have at least some genetic basis, so if someone in your family has an eye disease, you may be at an increased risk. Sharing this information with your healthcare provider can lead to an early diagnosis and treatment. For more tips and information on how to obtain a family history, check out the blog post we made for National Family Health History Day.
If you’d like to talk about your eye health or schedule a vision screening, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to make an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!
—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team