Have you ever thought about your eye health? How many times have we heard the phrase, “Eyes are the window to the soul”?
It’s true that your eyes can reveal a lot of things about you and the way you appear. But more importantly, I think we need to be reminded that the eyes are our window to the world as well.
It’s a two-way street!
Research has shown that more than 75% of what we perceive and understand comes from the things we see. So, if our eyes account for such a massive amount of things we perceive, it only makes sense to keep them sharp and healthy.
Eye health is fast becoming a priority in a lot of people’s lives and with good reason. We should not ignore the health of an organ that is so central to our lives.
You can take care of your eye health by visiting eye care specialists and also do your own eye healthcare measures at home. The people with the best eye health are those who do both.
You cannot expect to have an eye care specialist at your beck and call every day of the year; neither can you handle all your eye health requirements on your own.
So, developing and maintaining good eye health means getting the right balance of professional help as well as self-help.
Here are all the different ways we can keep our vision clear, healthy and strong:
CONSULTING EYE CARE SPECIALISTS
When it comes to eye health care, no one is more equipped than the medical professionals who have the skill and expertise to provide the best solutions.
Not all eye care specialists are the same, and we also need to be aware of what these different doctors do so that we know whom to go to for consultations or treatments.
Ophthalmologists are eye care specialists who can diagnose, treat and perform surgery for eye problems. Optometrists are trained to conduct eye exams, and they can also detect and diagnose eye health issues, but they do not perform surgery and eye operations.
Opticians, on the other hand, are trained mostly to make, repair and fit your lens or glasses according to what the optometrists may prescribe. With the correct equipment, opticians can also prescribe glasses/lens for you.
Whenever you visit an eye care specialist, you will typically go through a series of tests and exams to determine the condition of your eye health.
These may include color tests, checking your visual field, testing your eye’s refraction, visual acuity, etc. These tests can confirm whether your eyesight is in good condition.
They can also isolate and identify the problems if you have any eye health issues.
You should schedule appropriate consultations with eye care specialists if you have any existing eye health issues, vision problems, or if your family has a history of specific eye problems.
PRACTICE YOUR OWN EYE HEALTH CARE
We already know how difficult it is to visit or be in touch with eye care specialists constantly. The hassles of clearing your schedules, making appointments, going for follow-up visits, etc. are things that can only be done once in a while.
So, how do we ensure that our eyes stay healthy in between visits? Lucky for us, there are some different things we can do at home and in our daily schedules that can help keep our eyesight clear and healthy.
We should always consult eye care specialists for any irregularities and problems in our vision. But we can supplement it by taking care of a few things ourselves.
1. ALWAYS REMOVE OR WASH YOUR EYE MAKEUP AT THE END OF THE DAY
I understand this is more common sense than advice, but you’ll be surprised at how many of us think it is okay to do it occasionally.
And there is always a reason; maybe you’ve had a tiring day, a late night, or a few extra glasses of wine, etc. but it is still dangerous and does not help your eye health care.
Going to bed while having your makeup still on can clog your pores and cause reactions. Eyeliners and mascara can cause irritation in your eyes, or cause stys to appear.
The make-up will not just harm your eyes, but your facial skin too. So, unless you want zits, acne and other marks to appear in the morning, always wash or remove your make-up before getting your beauty sleep.
A good practice is to keep your remover kit or pads near your bed so that you never forget to do it.
2. ALWAYS REMOVE YOUR CONTACTS BEFORE BEDTIME
Another obvious practice, but it is so important that it bears repeating. If you’ve ever accidentally had them on overnight, you know what I’m talking about.
Our eyes require a fresh supply of oxygen and air, and contact lenses can block the inflow of oxygen when we are asleep.
Eye care specialists will always give you instructions about how to use them, and when to remove them. Always follow their instructions to the letter. The golden rule is to sanitize your hands and only handle your contacts with clean fingers.
3. WEAR SUNGLASSES WHEN OUTSIDE
Most of us already have a fair idea of what the UV rays from sunlight can do to our skin over time.
The bad news here is that they also have the potential to cause our vision to degrade if we expose our eyes to direct UV for long periods. It is, therefore, always advisable to wear shades or sunglasses if you are out and about.
The damage caused by UV rays on our eyes is not instant, it accumulates and builds over the course of a lifetime. So this protective measure should also be applied regularly. If you have children, make them wear caps or hats that can shield some of the sun’s rays.
Look for models that block out a high-percentage of the UV rays. Shades and sunglasses are not just a style statement anymore; there is a utility in them that we can no longer afford to ignore.
I like the fact that in wearing sunglasses, I can protect my eye health and look good doing it!
4. ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTIVE GOGGLES WHEN REQUIRED
Safety goggles, protective eye-wear, eye guards, etc. go a long way in contributing to eye health care.
These goggles should be worn any time you’re doing an activity that involves being around dust, debris, chemicals or any other pollutants in the air. Exposure to these particles can cause anything from mild irritations to severe allergies.
You can always get a pair of protective eye gear from eye care specialists, sporting goods stores or home depots. Since they are not difficult to procure, always have a pair ready when you need them.
5. ALWAYS GET A HEALTHY AMOUNT OF SLEEP
Getting proper sleep and rest is crucial in eye health care. I’m not just talking about getting dark circles in the morning or the dreaded eye bags.
Yes, these are annoying, but there are other much more severe effects that lack of sleep can have on our eyesight. Lack of sleep can bring eye spasms, dry eye syndrome, popped vessels, or eye fatigue, etc.
Improper sleeping habits will not just harm your eyes in the short term but threaten your eye health and body metabolism in the long run.
These are all conditions that can severely harm your vision and eyesight over time. You have to ensure that you get an average of 7 hours of sleep so that your eyes are well-rested and healthy.
6. EYE-PROTECTION WHEN LOOKING AT COMPUTERS
We live in a time when most of our daily activities are centered around a device with a screen (Computers, tablets, phones, etc.).
Whether it’s to write or read a blog, check your to-do list, text, browse the web, social media, etc. we keep looking at screens every other minute. This habit can have adverse results on our eye health.
The best thing we can do is limit or reduce the amount of time we spend staring at a screen.
However, like me, if your job or work requires you to look at a screen constantly, here are a couple of measures you can take to lessen the effects on your eye health.
Try to get a position where your eyes are at the same level as your screen. It is not healthy when your eyes have to look up and down constantly. It’s a sure-fire way of developing eye fatigue.
Don’t forget to blink. We often forget to blink when our eyes are focused on the content on our screens. This habit can cause severe strain in our eyes.
Remember the 20/20 rule too. Look at an object that is around 20 feet away for 20 seconds every once in a while (Every 20 minutes is a safe interval).
Make sure your workspace is well lit. If the lights are too dim or dark, it will cause unnecessary strain on your pupils. It will cause you to develop a poor vision and light sensitivity.
7. EATING FOODS THAT HELP YOUR EYE HEALTH
A healthy and balanced eating habit may not just give you better eyesight, but also help prevent unwanted conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and slow down muscle degeneration.
Go for food items that are rich in vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, lutein, and Omega-3 acids.
Brussel sprouts, oranges and strawberries contain a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin E food includes vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
Red meat like beef, pork, and other items like legumes, peanuts, etc. are excellent sources of zinc. Have a serving of fish salmon, sardines, etc. once a week for Omega acids.
You can opt for omega-3 supplements if you’re not a huge fan of fish products.
Green veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, and peas are rich in lutein. Have them regularly.
8. STAY AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT
I only found out recently that diabetes is the primary cause of blindness in adults today. And being at an unhealthy weight is one of the top causes of diabetic conditions.
This trend applies to not just older women, but younger women as well. Health risks do not discriminate between age and people. We are all liable to these effects if we do not practice caution in our lifestyle.
You can consult your doctor or calculate your Body Mass Index on your own.
After you find out your ideal weight, plan out an exercise regimen and diet program to maintain that healthy weight.
Think of it this way, since you are already trying to eat healthily, include some exercises so that your body also responds to a healthier lifestyle.
Your eye health depends a lot on your overall body health too.
9. QUIT OR REDUCE SMOKING
Smoking brings a whole lot of problems not just for your lungs but other parts of your body too. Your eye, in particular, can develop cataracts, optical nerve issues and, degenerating muscles.
And these conditions are less severe than the looming threat of developing cancer and other lung problems.
The best move you can make here, if you are a smoker, is to quit. But since that is a drastic change, you can start by reducing the number of cigarettes you have in a day.
Trust me, your eyes and body will thank you later down the line.
Healthy eyes are at the center of almost everything we do. It would certainly not be wise to ignore our eye health owing to busy schedules or being misinformed.
I hope this article will remind us not just the importance of eye health, but also the practical ways in which we can do our own eye health care.
The point that we have to remember here is that just visiting eye care specialists once in 5 years, or only sticking to DIY tricks for eye health is not enough.
Do not hesitate to visit an eye doctor if you encounter any discomfort or irritation in your eyes. At the same time, continue to take your own precautions and measures when going about your daily routines.
We need to make sure that there is a healthy balance of both professional consultations as well as personal measures to make sure that our eyes stay sharp, clear and healthy!