Being proactive about our health is more common than ever before and we are learning more about how we might keep ourselves healthy and active as we age. Along with keeping our muscles, joints, and brains healthy as we age there are also steps we might consider to maintain healthy eyes.
Note: The information provided in this article is not necessarily supported by scientific evidence and is not medical advice. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own doctor. This article is written for interest only and does not necessarily represent the views of the owners or doctors of this website. Discuss any changes in your diet or exercise regimen with your doctor before proceeding.
Good nutrition and a healthy diet is the first step to improving general health.
A healthy diet for your eyes goes beyond eating carrots, even though carrots are an important part of a healthy diet for your overall health. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may promote eye health are: Vitamin A, C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc oxide, and copper oxide. Below is a list of foods in each category that you might include in your “healthy” diet.
Sources of vitamin A:
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Red and yellow bell peppers
Sources of vitamin C:
- All citrus fruits
- Bell peppers
Sources of vitamin E:
- Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts
- Seeds such as sunflower seeds
- Vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean
Sources of lutein and zeaxanthin:
- Egg yolks
Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Chia Seeds and Flaxseed
Sources of zinc and copper:
- Beef, pork, and chicken
- Beans and legumes such as black beans and lentils
- Cooked oysters
- Pumpkin, squash, and sunflower seeds
Sunglasses Protect Eyes
Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet exposure has been linked to eye damage including cataracts, pinguecula (thickening of the conjunctiva), pterygium (growths on the sclera of the eye), and possibly macular degeneration.
Make sure you wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays. If you are unsure about your sunglasses have them examined by your eye care professional. If available, use a spectrophotometer to measure the amount of visible light and UV radiation your sunglasses are blocking.
Healthy Weight and Lifestyle
Maintain a healthy weight because it helps decrease your risk of developing diabetes which can lead to eye disease. Wear protective goggles when working or playing sports will reduce your risk of eye injuries.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking increases your risks for developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and optic nerve damage. If you’ve tried to quit and can’t, reach out for help to a support group.
Eye Strain and Healthy Habits
Give your eyes a rest from staring at a computer or other electronic device to prevent eye strain and eye fatigue. Try to take a break every 20 or 30 minutes and look away from your computer or device and blink several times to moisten your eyes.
If you wear contacts practice good hygiene to prevent eye infections. Wash your hands before putting your contacts in and if you wear reusable contacts make sure you thoroughly disinfect them after each use.
Have a comprehensive eye exam that includes pupil dilation that can detect vision problems early, so you can start any necessary treatments.
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