May is Healthy Vision month, so I decided to give you a top 8list of things you can do for happy healthy eyes now. Obviously there are more than 8 things you can do, but these are my top 8list of things you can do in no particular order. Plus my reasons why these are in my top 8.
- Wear Polarized Sunglasses
- Eat Well
- Don’t Smoke
- Wear Safety Eyewear
- Take Eye Breaks
- Get Your Eyes Checked
- Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
- Don’t Over Wear Contact Lenses
Now the sunglasses do not have to be polarized, but I won’t wear anything else. The reason I like polarized sunglasses so much is that they cut the glare better. I am not going to dive deep into the benefits of polarized lenses here, but I will in a future post. But back to the reasons sunglasses are so important. The obvious reasons are that the number one cause of macular degeneration and cataracts is sunlight exposure. So, if we eliminate that sunlight exposure then we can cut our risk of those diseases dramatically.
However, the reason I am such a fan of sunglasses may surprise you, but nonmelanoma skin cancers are very common around the eye. The reason is the thin tissue around the eye is easily damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. To help drive this point home 5-10% of all skin cancers occur on the eyelid. So, for those reasons wearing sunglasses are a huge step in having healthy vision for life.
Our diet is easily linked to our overall health and it makes sense that it would also be linked to our eye health. Eating lots of green leafy vegetables and foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin are very beneficial for our eye health. Here is a link to a blog post that I wrote that discusses the healthy eating in depth.
Don’t Smoke for Healthy Vision
We already established that sunlight exposure is the leading cause of several diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. However, smoking is a close second to causes for most of those same diseases. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. Everyone knows that smoking is bad. So, having said that I am going to move along.
Wear Safety Eye Wear
Safety eye wear is very beneficial. I see patients every week for pain in their eye that is caused by a preventable injury. Thankfully the majority of these injuries are easily fixed by removing the metal and they tend to not cause long term vision problems. However, it is all dependent on where the injury occurs. If the injury is in the middle of the eye then it will cause long term vision problems. Most people don’t pick where the injury is going to occur. That is why it is best to prevent the injury with safety glasses.
Take Eye Breaks
In case you aren’t aware, Eye Doctors are really nerdy. I mean all Eye Doctors other than myself. I am really cool. But, we came up with the 20/20/20 rule. That means every 20 minutes of screen time you should take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away. The more time we spend on electronic devices the more likely we are to have headaches, dry eyes, and a litany of other things. While I don’t foresee us stopping using electronics in the future we should take some precautions. I dove deep into this topic previously, but in short. Blue light bad. Blue light blocking glasses good.
Get Your Eyes Checked by an Eye Doctor
While this one seems fairly self serving it is very true. An eye exam is not very expensive and doesn’t take very long. The problem here is most people think that if they see great there must be no problem. However, that is like assuming my car has no issues because it turns on and drives. Just like we can’t tell what the oil looks like in the car while we are driving we can’t tell what the optic nerve looks like without having a look with microscopes and lenses. I never take my car on a trip longer than 2 hours without checking the belts and fluid levels. That is because I know if I can find the problem before I am in another state it is easier to fix and saves a lot of trouble.
The same goes with the eyes. If you have a little dryness, pain, or loss of clarity it is easy to fix before it is causing major problems. If you wait until you can’t see to go to the Eye Doctor it may be too late to really fix.
So, for a hundred bucks or less, you can easily get the eyes checked out. Most medical insurances have vision coverage included in their plans now. So, I would highly encourage calling a few clinics and let them know you have BCBS, Medicare, Aetna, Community Care, or some other medical insurance. Then, ask how much an eye exam costs. You may be surprised at how affordable it is in the current managed medical world.
Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes for Healthy Vision
Confession time for me. I do rub my eyes. And yes I rub my eyes more often than I should. I joke and say that it is okay for me to do it because I am a professional, but all jokes aside rubbing the eyes isn’t good for them. Rubbing our eyes is the number one cause of styes. Rubbing our eyes can make conditions worse like keratoconnus or pellucid marginal degeneration. If we have something in the eye we may be scratching the eye all up with whatever is in the eye by rubbing it. Now, typically rubbing the eye doesn’t cause any problems, but if we can avoid touching our eyes we should. Instead put a couple eye drops in to try and flush whatever is causing the problems out.
Don’t Over Wear Your Contact Lenses
Over wearing your contact lenses is the number one cause of eye infections. Our eyes were made to get oxygen from the environment and when we wear contact lenses we don’t get as much oxygen to them. If we don’t replace them on schedule or sleep in them then we get considerably less amount of oxygen to the eye. This causes us to lose some feeling and makes it harder for the eye to notice pain. While the eye not being in pain may sound good it is not if the reason is because of the cornea being starved of oxygen. So, replace contact lenses like you are supposed to and don’t sleep in the contacts and the likelihood of a problem from them is almost non existent.
Conclusion on Healthy Vision
So, those 8 things are pretty easy to do and for the most part aren’t expensive. Everyone can do them and easily have great vision for life.