Know your family history. Who in your family has experienced vision changes? Diabetes? Glaucoma? Cataracts? Know your genetic history, so you can talk with your eye doctor about any elevated risks you may have for conditions or diseases. Staying ahead of any potential changes means you’ll experience good vision longer.
Ask your ophthalmologist to include a dilated eye exam. Many common eye problems — including glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and macular degeneration related to age — don’t have warning signs. During a dilated eye exam, the ophthalmologist places drops in your eyes that dilate the pupils, so the doctor can see into the back of your eyes for a thorough examination.
Add dark leafy greens to your diet. Besides eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, include dark leafy greens. Spinach, kale, and collard greens are among the dark leafy greens that benefit healthy eyes. Also, include fish — like halibut, tuna, and salmon — to your diet, and you’re adding high amounts of eye-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Yum!
Give up the cigarettes. Numerous studies show that smoking increases the risk of cataracts, optic nerve damage, and age-related macular degeneration. All of these conditions, if left untreated, can lead to blindness, according to the National Eye Institute.
Care for your contacts. If you’re one of the more than 40 million Americans (according to the American Optometric Association) who wear contact lenses, here are three quick tips for you. Take great care to avoid problems like blurred or fuzzy vision, red eyes, pain, inflammation, or irritation by:
Washing your hands, before putting in or taking out contacts.
Disinfecting contact lenses on a regular basis.
Replacing contacts at any sign of discomfort or when your eye doctor says it’s time.
Always protect your eyes. Whenever you’re outside, protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses with 99 to 100% protection from UV-A and UV-B radiation. Wear protective eye gear when participating in sports; doing yard work or gardening; puttering in your workshop; or working on house projects. Your eye care provider can recommend protective eyewear for any work or play situation.
Take a break from your screens. In the U.S., two-thirds of us spend approximately seven hours per day looking at our screens: whether computers, smartphones, or tablets, according to the American Optometric Association. This can lead to dry eye and eye strain, as well as headaches, neck aches, backaches, and fatigue. Here’s a common remedy: the “20/20/20” rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break. Stand up, take in your surroundings, and be sure to look at something 20 feet away. Your eyes, neck, and back will thank you.
Know the warning signs. If you experience any of these warning signs with your eyes or sight, contact a health professional immediately to make an appointment:
• Decreased vision
• Eye pain
• Eye redness
• Eye drainage
• Double vision
• Seeing flashes of light
• Seeing “floaters,” which are tiny specks that float in front of your eyes
• Seeing halos or circles around light sources
Be sure you have great vision insurance. So, is vision insurance worth it? Yes. Good vision insurance helps you prepare for — and stay protected from — any changes in your eye health. You and your family deserve the best vision health protection you can find. We’ve done the research and are here to help! Chat with one of our team members by calling us at 888-890-1944 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: National Eye Institute, American Optometric Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.