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Make Sure to Adopt these 7 Habits to Take Better Care of Your Eyes

As you age, your eye health deteriorates, and your vision becomes poor. Also, you become prone to issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, reduced size of the pupil, etc. While these issues are almost inevitable, you can significantly slow their impact and ensure good eye health for a long time.

In this blog, we'll be discussing some simple yet effective habits that you can adopt to take better care of your eyes. From protecting your eyes from the sun to taking regular breaks rather than continuously staring at your screen, to even consuming the right vitamins for eyes, we've got you covered. Read along to learn more.

What Factors Affect Eye Health?

  • UV Exposure
  • Aging
  • Smoking
  • Poor Contact Lens Hygiene
  • Excess Screen Time, etc.
  • Diabetes

How can You Take Care of Your Eyes?

1. Regular Eye Checkups

You need to visit an ophthalmologist at least once a year. Annual eye exams ensure that your eye health is on point. That is because eyes change quickly, especially in children. In their growing years, their visual skills grow, develop, and improve. When children reach school age, they are expected to concentrate on their books for hours on end, causing discomfort and headaches that eventually affect their learning. This is why regular checkups are vital.

Even if you wear contact lenses or spectacles, it is better to visit your eye doctor every year to update your prescription. Also, if anyone in your family has a history of eye diseases like glaucoma, blindness, or cataracts, regular eye screenings and tests become even more important. Remember, the sooner you detect your eye issues, the easier it will be to treat them and save your vision.

2. Maintain a Healthy Diet

It is very important to consume a diet full of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins for eye health. By following a diet, you can reduce the risk of some serious eye complications. Here's what you must include in your diet: -

- Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Long-chain fatty acids DHA and EPA are crucial for eye health. The retina of your eyes consists of high amounts of DHA. 93% of the lipid portion of the retina is made up of DHA. It includes a mosaic of two types of photoreceptor cells known as rods and cones. DHA helps maintain the function of your eyes and plays a major role in brain and eye development during infancy. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has proven to provide long-term benefits related to dry eye disease and even age-related macular degeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like:

  • Nuts and seeds like walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Plant oils like flaxseed oil, canola, or soyabean oil.
  • Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, etc.

- Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins for the eyes, as it has antioxidant properties. According to research, antioxidants help reverse or lessen oxidative damage, which plays a huge role in several age-related eye diseases. Apart from that, Vitamin A helps produce moisture in the eyes, keeping them lubricated and preventing dry eye problems. Vitamin A-rich foods include: -

  • Liver and Cod liver oil
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Whole Milk
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach

- Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant that is good for the eyes. Consuming enough vitamin C as a part of your diet is a viable strategy to reduce oxidative stress and the risk of cataract formation in the eyes. The aqueous humor of the eye consists of high concentrations of vitamin C. Aqueous humor fills the outermost part of your eye. It nourishes the eye and helps form the anterior and posterior chambers of the eye. Foods rich in vitamin C include: -

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, kiwis, lemons, grapefruit, etc
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.

- Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two yellow carotenoid antioxidants. They are present in higher amounts in the macula (center part of your retina) and act as a sunblock for your eyes. These antioxidants also protect your eyes from free radicals. Lutein and Zeaxanthin seem to work much better when combined, even at the same concentration. You can find them in foods like: -

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Kale
  • Egg yolks
  • Peas
  • Lettuce

Other healthy minerals and vitamins for the eyes include vitamin B1, zinc, vitamin E, etc.

3. Exercise

Physical exercise is great for eye health. According to research, regular exercise can lower the risk of several common eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataracts. Cardiovascular exercises lower the intraocular pressure in the eyes, protecting the retinal ganglion cells. Exercise like cardio also increases blood flow to the optic nerves as well as the retina.

4. Wear Sunglasses

The UV rays coming from the sun can damage your eyes from overexposure. Ultraviolet light exposure in the eye can cause problems like cataract formation and retinal degeneration. That is why it is important to invest in a good pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.

5. Limit Screen Time

Spending hours on televisions, laptops, and mobile phones can negatively impact your eye health. These devices emit a blue light that is very harmful and damages the eyes over time. Try keeping the screen at least 20–25 inches away from your eyes and take breaks every twenty minutes from the screen to rest your eyes.

6. Quit Smoking

Smoking has poor consequences for almost your entire body and overall health. The toxins associated with smoking contribute to the formation of clots within the ocular capillaries, cutting off the essential nutrients required for maintaining eye health. It may also decrease blood flow to the eyes. Therefore, it puts you at a greater risk for diseases like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, etc.

7. Keep Your Lenses Clean and Sanitized

Contact lenses must be used and worn in the right way to prevent rare eye diseases. Practices, like not changing the lenses after a particular period or topping them up with tap water can cause bacterial and fungal infections.

Acanthamoeba keratitis, a blindness-causing eye condition, is getting pretty common these days. It occurs when people don’t clean their lens or lens case correctly. It can also happen if you expose your eyes to water while wearing lenses.

Can Supplements Help?

Apart from adding healthy foods to your diet that are good for eye health, you can also opt for eye supplements. These supplements for eye care act as an assurance that your eyes get the necessary nutrients, along with those that may not be obtained through diet alone. You can opt for supplements that have the right vitamins for eyes, which include Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Zinc, Vitamin C, etc.

Wrapping Up

Your eyes deserve all the care you can give them. And you can do that by following the tips in this blog. However, make sure to be patient while practicing the tips, as you may not experience any immediate benefits. But rest assured, your eyes will thank you in the long run.

References

Kuratko CN, Barrett EC, Nelson EB, Salem N Jr. The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: a review. Nutrients. 2013 Jul 19;5(7):2777-810. doi: 10.3390/nu5072777. PMID: 23877090; PMCID: PMC3738999. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738999/

Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul;4(8):118-26. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.70902. PMID: 22228951; PMCID: PMC3249911. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/

Sunderland DK, Sapra A. Physiology, Aqueous Humor Circulation. [Updated 2022 Jan 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553209/

Abdel-Aal el-SM, Akhtar H, Zaheer K, Ali R. Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids and their role in eye health. Nutrients. 2013 Apr 9;5(4):1169-85. doi: 10.3390/nu5041169. PMID: 23571649; PMCID: PMC3705341. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/

Ong SR, Crowston JG, Loprinzi PD, Ramulu PY. Physical activity, visual impairment, and eye disease. Eye (Lond). 2018 Aug;32(8):1296-1303. doi: 10.1038/s41433-018-0081-8. Epub 2018 Apr 3. PMID: 29610523; PMCID: PMC6085324. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6085324/

Narnoli P, Dhasmana R, Khanduri R. Dry eye disease and retinal nerve fiber layer changes in chronic smokers. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2021 May;69(5):1178-1182. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_976_20. PMID: 33913855; PMCID: PMC8186622. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8186622/

Somani SN, Ronquillo Y, Moshirfar M. Acanthamoeba Keratitis. [Updated 2022 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549863/

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