May is Healthy Vision Month and it may be time to schedule your yearly eye exam. Regular, dilated eye exams are recommended for people of all ages. While older adults are more likely to have ocular diseases, babies and young children may have trouble with their vision, too. Having healthy eyes and vision can start with having good overall health and taking preventative measures.
Diet and Exercise
Maintaining a good, healthy diet rich with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can protect your vision by giving you good retinal health. Specifically, vitamins C, E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin can help reduce the risk of worsening macular degeneration. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids have been shown to improve dry eye in some patients. These can all be supplemented to your diet or consumed through fruits and vegetables. Diet is also important in maintaining a low glycemic index and normal body mass index in those with diabetes and hypertension. Uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension can lead to overall decreased health, including vision loss. In addition to eating healthy, regular exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the eyes and improves overall body health.
UV protection and Safety Protection
Wearing glasses is not only for those with vision issues. Sunglasses are encouraged anytime you are outdoors, even if it is cloudy. Your sunglasses should block 100% UV; not all sunglasses do. UV can lead to damage to the cornea, natural lens, and retina. Larger lenses will protect the skin around the eyes from the risk of skin cancer. In addition to sunglasses, a wide brim hat also reduces exposure to harmful UV rays.
Wearing safety glasses can keep your vision healthy by preventing trauma to the eyes. These should be worn during some sports, yard and house work, and in some occupations, to name a few.
Yearly comprehensive exams help screen for diseases that could cause potential vision loss. Some include glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts. During your exam, your doctor can also address dry eye and allergy symptoms. Finally, an eye exam can also ensure that you are seeing your best with the help of glasses or contact lenses, if needed.
While this list is not comprehensive, it gives a few lifestyle modifications that can help you have healthy vision. Contact your eye care physician today to schedule your next exam!