Top 6 Tips to Take Care of Your Eyesight
Your eyes let you see the beauty in life. Oftentimes, people don’t realize how precious their eyesight is until they experience unexpected vision loss or damage. Don’t make this mistake! There are several ways—all of them easy and painless—to protect and preserve your eyesight for years to come.
1. Learn if you are at risk for eye disease.
In diabetes, high blood pressure and other related conditions, the small blood vessels in the eyes are often among the first to be affected by a loss of blood flow and oxygen. Genetics and aging can play a role as well, particularly in glaucoma or macular degeneration. According to the Review of Ophthalmology, studies have shown that more than half of glaucoma patients have a family history of the disease. Those with a sibling who has glaucoma may even be 10 times more likely to develop glaucoma themselves.
If you suffer from nearsightedness and wear high-index lenses, you may also be at risk for retinal tears or detachment due to the retinas being stretched thinner.
2. Live a healthy lifestyle.
It is often said that the eyes are a window into one’s overall health, meaning that if your body is unhealthy, a doctor may be able to literally see it in your eyes. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can help to prevent many of the conditions (namely diabetes and high blood pressure) from which eye disease is a common complication. Take care of your body, and your eyes will continue to take care of you!
3. Schedule regular physical exams.
Any individual over the age of 30 should visit their primary care doctor for an annual physical exam. Those under 30 can perhaps limit their exams to once every two years, though it never hurts to visit once a year. If you have any notable health conditions, your doctor may want to see you more often.
Aging and the risk of eye disease go hand in hand. A lesser-known benefit of the yearly physical is a quick check—you know, the one where you close one eye and read the increasingly smaller letters on a chart—to make sure you’re not developing vision complications, whether directly as a result of an eye problem or stemming from another condition.
4. Schedule regular eye exams.
A physical exam will almost always include a brief eye exam. If any potential problems are detected, your primary care doctor will send you to an eye specialist. Even when everything seems to be fine, it’s not a bad idea to add a trip to the eye doctor to your yearly preventative care routine (especially if you have a family history of eye disease).
5. Shield your eyes from UV rays.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is extremely damaging to the eyes, and has been linked to macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygium (a growth on the cornea) and photokeratitis (corneal sunburn). Please, wear sunglasses any time you are outdoors—including in winter, and also while driving. It’s the simplest thing you can do for your eyes. If you can spring for polarized shades with UV protection, even better.
6. Know which eye conditions are serious.
There are many eye conditions, such as a stye or chronic dry eye, that require attention but not necessarily emergency care. The conditions that do require the latter are actual changes in your vision, as opposed to pain. Flashes of light, persistent floaters or spots could be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment, which should be attended to immediately. A full loss of vision, even if just for a few moments, may be a sign of a stroke in the eye.
Whether you’re proactively caring for your eyes or worried about a problem with your vision, the friendly specialists at Athwal Eye Associates can help. Schedule your eye exam today.