It’s the new year and this special time of year would not be complete without some resolutions. While many people set up unrealistic resolutions, Coastal Vision is here to help you with some resolutions that you can and should keep. Here’s our 6 Resolutions for Healthy Eyes and Better Vision in 2019.
Eat more Leafy Greens and Vegetables with Color
Mom was right. Vegetables are good for us. And they can be especially important for healthy eyes. This is very true of leafy green and colored vegetables. These tend to be rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, and other helpful minerals and vitamins. Studies continue to show us these components help with everything from dry eye to macular degeneration. They may even slow down aging processes within the eyes.
Take more Breaks from the Computer
Seriously, we all need to take more breaks from the computer (after finishing this article, of course). A simple reminder is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes focus on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. It doesn’t have to be exact. But, very frequently, we should all be looking away from the computer screen to something at a further distance. This can help reset and relax our focusing muscles which are being strained while looking up close. We also know that staring non-stop at a computer screen can lead to dry eyes and Computer Vision Syndrome. Healthy eyes start with good habits when it comes to computers and digital devices.
Cut down on Blue Light Exposure
Digital screens, such as those in tablets and smartphones, all emit a large amount of intense blue light towards your eyes. Only recently did we discover this has an impact on your body. Studies show the blue light can disrupt melatonin production, which then will interfere with the body’s ability to fall and stay asleep. The good news is that we are able to treat all prescription glasses with a blue-light filter. At Coastal Vision, we recommend every patient that uses smartphones and tablets have blue-light filtering in their glasses. It’s also good not to use these devices and hour or two before bedtime.
Delve more into Family History
Family history is a critical piece of the eye exam puzzle. We know that many serious eye diseases have a genetic component. For example, glaucoma and macular degeneration in a person’s family history dramatically increases their risk for those diseases. If the eye doctor knows this history, he or she will be sure to pay close attention to any early signs of the condition every year. And early detection could mean the world when it comes to preventing damage to a person’s vision and maintaining healthy eyes. If possible, be sure to ask all living family members about their eye history as well as any history of deceased family members. And, then, pass that along to your eye doctor at your next visit.
Take an Active Interest in your Eye-related Risk Factors.
Did you know smoking is a risk-factor for dry eye disease, early-onset cataracts, macular degeneration and more? Have high blood pressure? That increases risk for retinopathy, retinal artery and vein occlusions and more. Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications? That may result in dry eyes as well as vision changes. Rheumatoid arthritis, sickle-cell anemia, thyroid disease, MS, sleep apnea, shingles, diabetes? Unfortunately, these and many other conditions are risk factors for serious eye issues. Ask your eye doctor about these risk factors, as well as what you should be looking for in terms of warning signs.
Protect Eyes Daily against Sun and UV Light
Protecting the eyes against the harmful effects of sun and UV light is a year-round undertaking. We know that UV light and other light emitted by the sun brings risks for damage to the eyes. Melanomas and carcinomas on the outside and inside of the eyes are possibilities. UV light can also increase cataract and macular degeneration risks. Because this is something that happens over a long period of time, investing in consistent sun protection is a critical way to protect eyes and vision. Transitions lenses are very effective. They turn dark when outside and filter harmful light. A separate pair of tinted sunglasses is still the best investment, however. Sunglasses tend to have larger lenses with more protection and will stay tinted in the car. Either way, quality sun and UV light protection could be the single most important investment in a person’s long term eye health besides getting yearly eye exams!