Eyes are one of the most important organs you have. While our heart, lungs, and spleen have vital jobs, we don’t notice their functions as much as that of our eyes. Being proactive when it comes to eye health could help prolong the onset of degenerative or age-related issues and can ensure we have the best eyesight we can for as long as possible. So, how can we look after our eyes to ensure they are working at an optimal level?
One of the first steps for eye health is to make sure you are tested regularly by an optician or ophthalmologist. Much like our regular dental check-ups, eye tests can help discover underlying issues that may be asymptomatic. We can see if we need any prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses and can monitor the overall state of our vision. Sometimes with eye health, catching things early enough can help in the long term before any major problems present themselves. Adding opticians’ appointments into our annual routine would be a sensible first step to ensure our eyes are working at an optimal level.
Eat for Your Eyes
Our diets are an integral part of our overall health and a poor diet can actually have an impact on our eyes. While chicken nuggets and fries won’t lead to macular degeneration, the absence of certain nutrients can speed up eye-related issues. Eating foods such as fatty and oily fish (high in omega-3), berries, and green leafy vegetables can provide us with the nutrients we need to keep our eyes shining bright. And it may not be true that carrots make you see in the dark, but they are the best example of a food that boosts our eye health due to the high levels of lutein and beta carotene, which are beneficial for the eyes.
Shield Your Eyes from the Sun
Protecting our eyes from the sun can promote good eye health and limit the amount of intense UV light that can actually lead to damage to the cells in our eyes. There is a huge range of styles available when it comes to sunglasses — from aviators to Wayfarers and even hexagonal-lensed shades. As well as looking stylish and keeping out the sun, sunglasses such as the Oakley range seen here can also be prescription-based, meaning if you’re typically a glasses-wearer, you don’t need to worry about contact lenses to look stylish.
Play Games to Help Your Eyes
The old adage suggested that playing video games would leave you with ‘square eyes’. But studies have found that not only is this not true (obviously) but it could actually be the opposite. Playing video games has been proven to help boost our hand-eye coordination and crucially improves our contrast sensitivity function. The function is one of the first aspects of our eyesight that fades with age and is useful for activities at night. Playing games requires us to analyze the game landscape and differentiate the subtle changes in color, which helps keep our contrast sensitivity function sharp.
Protect Your Eyes
This one may seem intuitive, but there are many cases of eye-related injuries that stem from people not keeping their eyes protected. When doing any activity — from using a drill or saw to painting — good eye protection is essential. There are reports that people have even injured their eyes from opening a champagne bottle. Any situation that involves anything that could potentially be a danger to your eyes should come with adequate eye protection. This could be protective eyewear or could even be goggles (even out of the pool!). Even something as small as soap in the eye could lead to bigger problems if it isn’t dealt with immediately and the eyes aren’t protected as best as possible.
Reduce Screen-Related Eye Strain
One of the most common eye issues in the 21st Century is our increased use of screens. This includes both laptops and smartphones, which have replaced the TV as the traditional scourge of opticians everywhere. Most devices come with a ‘dark mode’ or ‘night mode’ which can be activated in order to help lessen eye strain that comes with using these devices. Dark modes simply reduce glare and reduce the amount of blue light that enters your eye. This can be useful to help stop too much eye stimulation just before bed and can lessen the strain on eyes — but some experts argue not as much as we’d like to think.
There are many steps to take in order to protect your vision and ensure you have optimal eye health for as long as possible. Some involve taking small steps day-to-day, while others focus on making changes and swaps of what we might currently do. A combination of many methods — from eating eye-boosting nutrient-rich foods to playing video games that help with our contrast sensitivity to shielding our eyes from the sun and any potentially harmful situations — can all work together to help save our eyes.
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