10 Simple Sight-Saving Tips

Taking Care of Your Eyes

Take a look at 10 sight-saving tips to protect your vision and boost your eye health.

1 / 11 Taking Care of Your Eyes

Sight–it's one of the most important senses in your body. You rely on it to safely experience the world and communicate with others. So keeping your eyes healthy is one of the keys to preserving your quality of life as the years trek on. And you can't ignore the statistics, either. Eye diseases are on the rise in the U.S., and are set to affect nearly 50 million people by the end of the decade. With that in mind, consider these 10 sight-saving tips.

A Family Affair

2 / 11 A Family Affair

Remember those bifocals your grandfather wore? How about your aunt who had glaucoma? From poor vision to serious eye diseases, your family history says a lot about your eye health. Open a dialogue with your family members about their eye health history to learn how it may impact you. And find out if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition that affects vision, such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (to name a few). It's a direct way to determine if you might be at higher risk for those same eye problems.

Get Your Eyes Examined

3 / 11 Get Your Eyes Examined

Eye exams are the best way to parlay your vision concerns into an actionable eye care plan. Even if your eyes feel fine, scheduling a doctor appointment with an eye care professional is in your best interest. For example, certain eye diseases may not have symptoms until vision loss starts to set in. Regular vision screenings can help you learn about possible eye problems before they blindside you. The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests vision screenings during different phases of your life–from your toddler years to your teens, and into your mid-life and senior years.

Eat Smart and Exercise

4 / 11 Eat Smart and Exercise

Here's an eye health myth: Eating carrots is the only way to keep your vision crystal clear. True, carrots are great for you, but you've got to take your diet a few steps further to keep your eyes nice and strong. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a smarter way to boost your eye health. These foods are packed with vitamin-C, says Mehmet Oz, MD, which improves the cells in your retina. Salmon, tuna, eggs, nuts and beans are vision-boosters, too. What's more, vigorous exercise–like walking or running daily–can help fortify your vision, lowering your risk of two leading eye problems that happen over time: cataracts and macular degeneration.

Quit Smoking

5 / 11 Quit Smoking

Does your day revolve around lighting up that next cigarette? If so, you've got to break the habit if you want to preserve your eye health. Some studies show smoking harms your vision–not to mention your overall health–and increases your risk for cataracts, optic nerve damage and macular degeneration. All three eye diseases can eventually lead to blindness. And who wants to deal with that en route to graceful aging? Toss that pack in the trash and quit smoking. If you have trouble staying quit, here's some good news: research suggests every attempt you make to quit smoking raises your chances of nixing tobacco for good, even if you don't succeed right away. 

Start Sipping Green Tea

6 / 11 Start Sipping Green Tea

Not only does green tea keep your skin healthy, boost your memory and improve your blood pressure, it's great for your vision, too. Flavonoids in green tea may help with a host of vision problems, says Kevin Soden, MD, protecting you from cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and certain forms of glaucoma. Studies show one particular flavonoid found in green tea–called gallocatechin–accumulates in your retina, protecting your peepers from the sun's damaging rays. Aim for a cup a day and your eyes will thank you.

Slip on Some Shades

7 / 11 Slip on Some Shades

Ultraviolet rays from the sun don't just harm your skin, they wreak havoc on your eyes at all times of the day. In fact, when the sun's low on the horizon at sunrise and sunset, your eyes are exposed to twice the amount of damaging UVB rays–considered more dangerous than UVA rays, according to researchers. That's why wearing sunglasses when you're out and about is such a good call. For peripheral defense, opt for the wraparound look and make sure they offer 99% to 100% UVA and UVB protection.

Deny Dry Eyes

8 / 11 Deny Dry Eyes

Have you ever felt the effects of dry eyes? It's a frustrating–yet totally treatable–condition that can leave your peepers looking red and possibly feeling itchy, gritty and overly irritated. Dry eyes happen more often with age as your tear production decreases. But you can prevent it by taking a proactive approach to your symptoms. To get the relief you need, consider using eye drops or running a portable humidifier when your indoor environment feels too dry. Sometimes certain medicines can also spur dry eye symptoms. If your dry eyes become too much to handle on your own, seek professional care by scheduling a doctor appointment.

Care for Your Contacts

9 / 11 Care for Your Contacts

So you've shirked wearing prescription glasses full-time in favor of contact lenses. And you may already know that lens care is essential to ensuring your eye health. To keep your eyes safe and sound, just make sure to follow your doctor's orders on how you care for your contact lenses. Don't hesitate to put your contact lens care regimen into question, either. Has your contact lens solution expired? Are you wearing lenses that are approved for overnight wear? Are your contacts disposable or not? Failing to follow instructions regarding the care of your contact lenses can result in painful eye conditions like corneal ulcers and even vision loss.

Be Careful with Eye Cosmetics

10 / 11 Be Careful with Eye Cosmetics

The value of good mascara, eye shadow and eyeliner is undeniable. But you have to know the potential threats eye cosmetics can hold for your eyes. Lurking in those cute little cosmetic packages are bacteria that can build up over time. And those germs get transferred to your eyes when you're going through your daily beauty ritual. To cut back on contaminating your precious gems, toss out old makeup, don't use mascara that's dried out, keep your eye cosmetics in a cool, dry place and avoid sharing eye cosmetics with friends. In general, eye cosmetics are safe as long as you use them appropriately.

Curb Computer Vision Syndrome

11 / 11 Curb Computer Vision Syndrome

You've probably logged countless hours staring at a computer screen. Though computers are part of life, computer vision syndrome (CVS) doesn't have to be. Essentially, CVS is closely associated with eyestrain that's the result of overuse. But it can lead to aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, back or head and may include blurry vision. To keep CVS at bay, make sure your computer monitors are about 4 to 8 inches below eye level. And make it a point to cast your eyes away from the screen every 15 minutes. Stretch out your neck muscles, stand up, walk around and switch your field of vision often. This proactive approach is good for your eyes and the rest of your body.

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