10 simple ways to protect your eye health every day

Vision loss is a major problem that interferes with daily life. It's more common than you think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 93 million adults in the United States are at high risk of vision loss. Although it is not always possible to reverse vision loss once experienced, this does not mean that you cannot take precautions to protect your eyes in the future.

Adding these habits to your daily routine will help keep your eyes in good condition for years to come.

read more: 12 foods that are best for eye health

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1. Wear sunglasses

Exposure to UV rays in your eyes can cause damage over time. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, wearing sunglasses blocks harmful UV rays and reduces the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, sunburn, eye cancer, and growths around the eyes. Polarized glasses with smoked or gray lenses provide maximum protection from the sun's rays and reduce glare.

2. Interrupt the screen

Staring at screens for long periods of time can lead to dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain, blurred vision, headaches, digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome. The American Optometric Association recommends using the 20-20-20 rule to prevent computer vision syndrome. Every 20 minutes, stare at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

3. Take reading breaks too.

Screen time isn't the only thing that puts strain on your eyes. When reading a book, you may hold the book close to you for a long time. Both activities can cause nearsightedness, or nearsightedness, where distant objects appear blurry while nearby objects are clear. Just like you should use the 20-20-20 rule for taking screen breaks, you should also use this rule for book breaks. If you find yourself engrossed in reading or working on your computer, set an alarm so you don't miss your 20-minute break.

A woman holds her eyes in pain while holding glasses. A woman holds her eyes in pain while holding glasses.

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4. Move your body

Regular exercise may have eye health benefits, including promoting blood vessel health and lowering the risk of developing glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, reports the AAO. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week and two days of strength training to build your muscles. You can also practice eye exercises to reduce eye strain and eye fatigue while sitting at your desk.

read more: Incorporate more exercise into your daily life: 7 steps that actually work

5. Go outside

Even if you do the recommended exercise indoors, both children and adults need to get outside frequently. Research shows that children who spend time outdoors have a lower risk of developing myopia in adolescence and adulthood. Playing with the kids at the local playground, walking in the woods, or playing in the backyard can help the whole family stay healthy and active. Please be sure to wear sunglasses.

6. Don't smoke

It is well known that smoking is bad for your health. According to the Food and Drug Administration, it may also increase your risk of developing eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Smokers are two to three times more likely to develop cataracts and up to four times more likely to develop AMD. Future research may determine whether smoking causes glaucoma, Graves' eye disease, and thyroid eye disease, and may accelerate the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy. To improve your health, develop a smoking cessation plan.

Fresh carrots on a wooden cutting board. Fresh carrots on a wooden cutting board.

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7. Eat a balanced diet

The foods you eat every day improve your eye health. Eating foods rich in vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc can help support cell growth, reduce inflammation in eye tissue, and limit free radicals that can damage the eye. can.

To get the right nutrients for your eyes, eat a balanced diet by incorporating the following foods into your regular diet, as recommended by the AAO.

  • Vitamin A and beta carotene: Apricots, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, red peppers, ricotta, mango.
  • Vitamin C: Grapefruit, orange, lemon, tangerine, peach, strawberry, tomato, red pepper.
  • Vitamin E: Avocado, almonds, peanut butter, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds.
  • Omega 3: Halibut, sardines, salmon, tuna, trout.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: Collards, broccoli, eggs, peas, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, turnip greens.
  • zinc: Lime beans, kidney beans, black beans, red meat, oysters, fortified cereals, and chicken.

8. Avoid rubbing your eyes

Habitual eye rubbing can cause eye damage and infection. Dry or tired eyes may make you want to rub your eyes, but you may rub your eyes too much or rub them too hard. This can lead to problems such as decreased or blurred vision, headaches, inflammation, and eye and light sensitivity. Another reason to avoid rubbing your eyes is that bacteria and viruses on your fingers and hands can cause conjunctivitis (commonly called conjunctivitis). Instead of rubbing your eyes, use eye drops or saline to keep them clean and moist. Suppress the urge and find something else to do to keep your hands busy until you get the habit back.

read more: 7 home remedies for dry, itchy eyes

9. Wash your hands

You should always wash your hands before touching your face or eyes or handling contact lenses. Approximately 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, and approximately 1 in 3 wearers develop complications and 1 in 5 contact lens infections result in corneal damage. .

Additionally, we don't know what types of bacteria are on an object after someone unknowingly contaminates it. Regularly washing your hands can reduce your risk of respiratory illnesses by up to 21% and diarrheal illnesses by up to 40%, the CDC reports.

10. Remove makeup

After a long day, you may not think to remove your eye makeup before bed. According to the Optometrist Network, doing so can benefit your eye health and lower your risk of blepharitis and eyelid inflammation.

You should also protect your skin and eyes by using only products made for your eyes, changing your makeup frequently (especially after an eye infection), not wearing eye makeup on your inner eyelids, and not sharing your eye makeup with others. You should adopt good makeup habits to protect your skin. Someone else. If you use a brush or sponge for eye makeup, wash it regularly.

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