Preventive care can help you keep your eyes healthy and avoid common causes of blindness.
1. What you eat matters for your eye health. Eating well is the No. 1 way to take care of your eyes.Green leafy vegetables provide the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, shown to help reduce risk for eye diseases. And vitamin A found in bright yellow and orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes boosts eye health, according to the National Institutes of Health. Adding fruits like strawberries, oranges, and mangoes provides vitamin C and other antioxidants.
2. Comprehensive eye exams pick up vision problems early. Getting a regular eye exam is the only way to catch a variety of problems, such as glaucoma or diabetic eye disease, ensuring you'll get timely treatment. Most people with vision problems should see their eye doctor once a year to make sure their sight hasn’t changed.
At 40: a baseline eye exam
From 40 to 55: an eye exam every 2 to 4 years
Ages 55 to 64: an eye exam every 1 to 3 years
At 65 and up: an eye exam every year
3. Smoking now can cause eye problems later. Get off tobacco in any form. Smoking puts you at higher risk of developing cataracts and increases problems with dry eyes. It also raises your risk of macular degeneration, an incurable condition that destroys vision in the center of the eye
4. You can help preserve your eyesight by protecting your eyes from the sun. Sunglasses should have complete, 100 percent protection from UVA and UVB (long and short wave) rays. Ultraviolet radiation stimulates the issues that cause both cataracts and macular degeneration — common causes of blindness.
5. Working on a computer all day can give you dry eyes. try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away for 20 seconds at something that is at least 20 feet away.
6. Diabetes is also the cause of blindness. In diabetic retinopathy, the tiny blood vessels of the retina are damaged. While no symptoms appear during the early stages of the condition, it is critically important to catch retinopathy as soon as possible via regular eye exams. Over time, your vision can blur and lead to blindness. Controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol can prevent the disease from getting worse.
7. After age 60, macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness.
8. Cataracts are common, but treatment is very effective.
9. Damage to the eye’s optic nerve causes glaucoma.
10. Your eyes reveal a lot about your health.