Five Ways to See Your Best
Dr. Robyn Clausen | Bauer & Clausen Optometry
Most of us have an eye on the future – at least some of the time - making plans, saving money and creating a vision for how we want our lives to look. Have you ever thought to include your eyesight in your long-term plans? Seeing is a central part of life for many of us, but like our health, it can be easy to take for granted. Let’s take a peek at some best ways to boost the odds that your eyes remain healthy – feeling good and functioning well – for years to come.
1. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR DIET
We all know that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is good for the body, but have you ever considered what these things might do for your vision? While tricks to “cure” your need for a prescription don’t work, consuming a variety of healthy foods supports eye health by adding vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids to your blood stream. In addition to drinking plenty of water, consider some of these healthy food options:
· Oily fish
· Sweet potatoes
· Citrus fruits
2. FOCUS ON EXERCISE
Many eye diseases are related to other health problems, like high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day can help you control your waistline and reduce your risk for these health conditions, which has a preservative effect on your vision. Regular cardio sessions can increase essential blood flow to the retina and optic nerve which provides vital nutrients and oxygen that promote eye health and function. There is even evidence that an active lifestyle reduces risk for macular degeneration, a sight-stealing condition that progresses over time. Getting a healthy sweat on doesn’t require special equipment or superhuman strength. Any physical activity that boosts your heart rate for 30 minutes or more will work. Walk around the block, ride your bike, take a hike, jump rope. It doesn’t matter whether you choose the same activity every day or get creative. Just get moving!
3. KEEP AN EYE ON INSTRUCTIONS
For many, contact lenses are a convenient way to correct vision and avoid wearing glasses. If you wear contacts, one of the best things you can do to promote eye health is to follow your doctor’s lens replacement recommendations. Patients who “stretch” wearing time by skipping replacements to save time or money put themselves at risk for a variety of eye health problems. Remember that contact lenses are medical devices designed specifically to remain in contact with a major bodily organ – your eyes. Over wearing lenses, even if you clean and rinse them carefully, can cause blurry vision, dryness, itching and redness or serious infection that may result in vision loss. Your eyes are sensitive and lens materials are designed to break down over time, so following doctor recommendations is important. In fact, your vision depends on it.
4. WATCH OUT FOR THE SUN
Many people mistakenly think of sunglasses as a simple fashion accessory. While a great pair of shades can make you look extra cool, sunglasses are actually eye health essentials. Rain or shine, UV light can cause serious damage to your retina, lens, cornea and eyelid. While bright light often prompts us to reach for a hat and sunnies, cloudy days don’t always provoke the same response. This is a mistake. It’s not the brightness of the sun, necessarily, that causes eye damage; it’s invisible UV rays. That means that eye damage is just as likely during cloudy or overcast weather as it is on bright sunny days. Water and snow activities increase risk too, as UV rays are reflected back up to your eyes from below. When you venture outside, protect your eyes with quality sunglasses that block UV light - no matter the weather. Doing so will keep your eyes comfortable and healthy.
5. SEE YOUR EYE DOCTOR ANNUALLY
“My eyes feel fine. Why do I need to see the doctor?” This is a question we hear often.
The answer is two-fold. Regular eye exams can:
1. Help doctors detect early signs of serious bodily health conditions, and
2. Prevent or slow progression of eye diseases through early detection, treatment and management.
You’ve heard that the eyes are the windows to the soul? It turns out that they’re windows to your overall physical health, too. Sometimes the first signs of high blood pressure, diabetes, brain tumors and high cholesterol appear in the eyes. The arteries, blood vessels and cranial nerves visible in the eye make visible certain signs of illness that might otherwise go undetected. In addition, there are a number of eye diseases that lack symptoms. One of these is glaucoma, which can steal your sight if left untreated.
A comprehensive exam can often be completed in about an hour. We definitely think you’ll see the benefits.
Though there are no guarantees in life when it comes to health, there are a number of positive habits we can adopt to tip the odds in our favor. As you look forward to the future, consider integrating these five regular activities to protect your vision. Your eyes will thank you!