Healthy Vision All-Year Long

Comprehensive Eye Exam at The Eye InstituteAt the start of each year, people around the world make plans to change their habits and set goals in hopes of becoming a better version of themselves. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to be a little healthier. More often than not, this commitment only extends to weight loss or dieting, however good vision is also a key part of overall health.

At The Eye Institute (TEI), we encourage you to extend your plans for health and wellness to include caring for your vision. Here are five simple ways you can resolve to protect your vision all year long:
 
  • Watch your diet: Eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk of eye disease. Along with carrots, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens, is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too. Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking has a multitude of damaging effects on your overall health, including your eyes. Several studies suggest that smoking increases the risk of macular degeneration - due to increased chemicals in the bloodstream that reduce blood and oxygen flow to the eye. Studies also show that smoking increases the risk of vision conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye syndrome.
  • Sport your shades: Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement – they are crucial for protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But, sunglasses are not just a summer staple. UV exposure isn't related to temperature so it’s equally as important to sport your shades even during the colder months. Prolonged and high levels of UV rays can lead to serious health problems, including the acceleration of the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Lessen your screen time: From tablets to smartphones to laptops – the average person can spend hours a day staring at a screen. Prolonged screen time can put users at risk for computer vision syndrome, digital eye strain and other vision problems.  That’s why it’s important to rest your eyes and take frequent breaks from screen time. A good rule of thumb is the 20-20-20 rule: look away from the screen every 20 minutes and stare at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Schedule an eye exam: The most important thing you can do to maintain your visual health is to have a comprehensive eye exam. According to the American Optometric Association, adults should have an eye exam at least once every two years. For individuals over the age of 60, an eye exam is recommended annually due to the increased risk of cataracts, glaucoma and other conditions that can occur as the eye naturally ages. If you have a family history of eye disease or vision issues, a visit to your optometrist sooner rather than later is recommended.
The start of a New Year is the perfect time to hit the reset button on poor health habits. Take charge of your vision and take the necessary steps to maintain your visual health all year long.

To schedule an appointment at The Eye Institute, call 215.276.6111.