Written by: Dr. Rachel Gelman
Let’s start with a healthy lifestyle: Eat right, stay active and get annual physicals and eye exams. Eat real foods that are not processed, such as colorful vegetables and fruits in their natural skins. Eat nuts or seeds like pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. If you tend not to eat a well-balanced diet, consider visiting with your doctor and consult with a nutritionist about a healthy meal plan that suits your taste buds. Vitamins and Supplements may fill the gap of a not so perfect diet. However, it is no substitute for real foods. Stay active and less sedentary so that you can keep up good blood circulation. Manage chronic conditions especially diabetes and high blood pressure. Annual physicals and bloodwork are very important to keep the body in check. Of course…so are annual eye exams. Be sure to get a complete eye exam from an optometrist. Even though it is less expensive to see a technician at an ophthalmology practice for just the eyeglass prescription the health of your eye is not being evaluated and the prescriptions may not always be accurate. Get annual eye exams that include a dilated fundus exam for preventive care at least every one to two years. If you have systemic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, a dilated fundus exam to examine the retina should be done annually or sooner, as recommended by your eye doctor.
There are so many ways to preserve your sight. Protect your eyes from injury by using safety eyewear when doing any repairs/maintenance and mechanics work. If you wear prescription eyewear, place safety glasses over them. Protect your eyes from the sun. Use 100% UV protection sunglasses that are polarized with a gray tint that give true color rendition. Protect your eyes of glare from artificial lighting, car headlights and computer displays by using an antireflective coating in your lenses. Protect your eyes from artificial Blue Light from computer displays, smart phones and smart television sets. Artificial Blue Light will disrupt your sleep-wake cycle and has been implicated as a contributing factor to cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Limit computer time to just work and 1 hour for leisurely internet surfing/playing video games. Also, use specific task lighting with daylight in your home and work space to avoid eye strain. Refrain from rubbing your eyes. This can introduce bacteria (i.e. from door knobs), chemicals or allergens (pollen, mold, dust). Quit smoking. This will lower your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Lid hygiene is so very important. Use gentle face soaps. Use warm compresses with a clean moist washcloth on your lids as part of your daily routine to avoid sties, also known as hordeola. Use makeup that is not made in China to avoid toxic chemicals. Dispose of old makeup for example eyeliners and mascaras should be disposed of after 1 month. Do not ignore signs of redness, itch, dryness or pain. Go to the eye doctor because this is not normal. Be aware of your family medical history if possible so that you may foresee any potential sight threatening conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
There really is no magic to improving your vision. Preserve and protect the vision and ocular health that you already have, so that you can enjoy your life seeing as clearly as possible. Be kind to your eyes. They will reward you with sight for years to come.
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