It’s easy to take your eyes for granted. When you have perfect vision and no discomfort, you don’t even think about them. But as soon as you have vision issues or some form of irritation, your eyes are all you can think about. And while some eye issues require corrective lenses and/or procedures to correct, many can be prevented by following healthy habits.
5 Ways to Protect Your Eyes
The human eye is a sensitive, yet resilient organ. If you want to protect it from chronic discomfort and serious health issues, you need to treat them with care. Here are some all-natural suggestions:
- Eat a Bright Diet
The foods you eat have a direct impact on the health and performance of your eyes. Enhancing your diet to include more eye-friendly vitamins and nutrients is key.
“Orange-, dark green-, and yellow-hued fruits and vegetables support vision health,” LASIKsurgery.com mentions. “Create meals around vegetables like broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach, green beans, and kale — all of which contain high levels of vision-boosting lutein and zeaxanthin. Strawberries, citrus fruits, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and walnuts also promote healthy eyesight.”
In essence, it comes down to eating fresh, natural ingredients and avoiding highly processed foods as much as possible. Staying adequately hydrated is also important.
- Quit Smoking
Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs – it can also lead to a host of eye problems. These include cataracts, damage to the optic nerve, and macular degeneration.
Smoking is obviously a very challenging habit to break, so you’ll need a plan. If you’ve previously tried to quit to no avail, consider asking your doctor for resources to increase your chances of success.
- Wear Sunglasses
Most people wear sunglasses for comfort or fashion. They prevent the need to squint in bright sunshine and serve as a point of style. But they have a much more functional purpose – and that’s to protect your eyes from damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
A significant percentage of cataract cases are caused by extended UV exposure. Macular degeneration – the leading cause of blindness – can also result from sun damage to the retina. Sunglasses can significantly reduce the risk of both of these conditions.
“When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation, so you can keep your vision sharp and eyes healthy,” National Eye Institute suggests. “A wide-brimmed hat offers great protection, too!”
- Take a Screen Break
Blue light – the type of light emitted from computers, tablets, TVs, and smartphones – is harsh on the eyes. In the short-term, staring at screens for more than 20 minutes at a time can cause eyestrain, headaches, and other forms of discomfort. The long-term effects aren’t fully understood yet, but it’s believed that more serious damage can occur from chronic exposure.
It’s best if you only spend small amounts of time exposed to screens each day. If you’re forced to stare at a computer for long periods of time – perhaps for work – it’s best to take a short break every 20 minutes. It’s also smart to have the screen at eye level so that you don’t have to strain in order to see. If you have glasses or contacts, be sure to wear them.
- Wash Your Hands
“Throughout the day, we collect dirt and germs on our hands, and these germs are easily transferred when touching our eyes, nose or mouth, increasing the possibility of getting sick,” Ameritas explains. “Washing your hands frequently throughout the day helps control the spread of viruses and other bacteria that can cause infectious diseases in your eyes, such as conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and corneal ulcers.”
When washing hands, use antibacterial soap and hot water. Try to wash for at least 25 seconds and always remember to dry your hands after cleansing. If you don’t have access to water and soap, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Embrace a Clearer Future
Whether you’re currently experiencing eye issues or you have perfect vision, there’s something to be said for proactively caring for your eyes and giving them the treatment they need to continue performing at the highest possible level. It’s never too late to start!