6 Ways To Protect Your Eyesight

Protecting your eyesight is critical to having the best quality of life possible for as long as possible. Eye disease is a common problem that negatively affects this quality of life, especially as you get older. According to the CDC, over 3 million Americans over the age of 40 are either blind or visually impaired. Luckily, there are proactive steps you can take to help protect your eyesight for many years to come. Here are six great ways to do just that:

Get Routine Eye Exams

You may be tempted to put off eye exams until your vision begins to suffer and you begin to notice the signs of vision loss, but this is not the best approach. Regular, preventative eye exams can help detect and stave off vision problems before they become more serious and harder to correct. Vision problems can occur so gradually that you don't notice for quite a while if you only rely on your own observations, but your eye doctor will discover them much earlier and help implement the right corrective course.

The American Optometric Association recommends having eye exams every two years unless you are at high risk for vision problems, at which point you should increase the frequency to once a year. You are at high risk if vision problems like glaucoma run in your family. If you have eyeglasses, it's also important to get eye exams annually instead of every two years to ensure that your prescription needs haven't changed.

Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

Just as UV rays are bad for your skin, they can also damage your eyes over time. In particular, exposure to UV rays can increase your risk of cataracts. It's important to wear good quality sunglasses that provide UV protection anytime you're in the sun, including when you're driving. A wide-brimmed hat will offer your eyes additional protection.

Avoid Smoking

You already know that smoking increases your risk of lung cancer and heart disease, but it also increases your risk of vision loss and eye disease. Smoking has been linked to macular degeneration, which leads to a gradual decrease in vision, beginning with an inability to read fine print and see small visual details. Protecting your eyesight is one more reason to quit smoking, along with all the other potential health benefits of doing so.

Get Plenty of Antioxidants

The powerful antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables help strengthen the blood vessels, including those found in eyes, which can help prevent vision loss. The antioxidant beta-carotene is especially potent when it comes to protecting your eyesight. Beta-carotene is found in vibrant orange and yellow vegetables, like carrots and different kinds of squash.  

Get Regular Physical Exams

In addition to regular eye exams, you should aim to have an overall physical exam once every year or two. Your doctor should check for signs of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, because these are all common precursors of eye disease and vision loss. Generally, the better you take care of your overall health, the lower your risk of premature eye disease.

Wear Eye Protection During Home Improvement Projects

No matter how well you take care of your health and your eyesight, a sudden trauma can cause lasting damage to your eyes. A critical way to protect your delicate eyes is to wear protective goggles whenever you work on home improvement projects. This simple, easy precaution can protect your eyes from nails, flying debris, glass, and other items that may behave unpredictably, especially when using power tools.

By following these tips, you can help protect your eyesight for as long as possible. Click here for info on receiving regular eye exams.