Work to keep your eyes healthy

July is Healthy Vision Month. There’s a lot you can do to keep your eyes healthy and protect your vision.

Getting a dilated eye exam is simple and painless and the single best thing you can do for your eye health! Even if your eyes feel healthy, you could have a problem and not know it. A dilated eye exam is the only way to check for many early eye diseases when they’re easier to treat.

Getting older increases your risk of some eye diseases. If you are overweight or obese; have a family history of eye disease; or are African American, Hispanic, or Native American, you may have a higher risk for some eye diseases.

Protecting your overall health can go a long way toward keeping your eyes healthy! It’s important to make healthy choices and take good care of yourself.

Keep in mind that healthy habits like eating well and being active can lower your risk for diseases and conditions that can lead to eye or vision problems, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Eat healthy foods such as dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens. Eating fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut is good for your eyes, too.

Being physically active helps you stay healthy and lowers your risk of health conditions that can cause eye health or vision problems.

Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs, it can hurt your eyes, too! Smoking increases your risk of diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts and it can harm the optic nerve. If you’re ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support.

Wear sunglasses and protective eyewear. Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses even on cloudy days!

Be sure to look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation. Safety glasses and goggles are designed to protect your eyes during certain activities, like playing sports, doing construction work, or doing home repairs.

Give your eyes a rest. Looking at a computer for a long time can tire out your eyes. Rest your eyes by taking a break every 20 minutes to look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you wear contacts, always wash your hands before you put your contact lenses in or take them out.

Be sure to disinfect your contact lenses and replace them regularly. — Source: NIH

Pam Daniel, MSN, RN is Health Educator for the Clinton County Health District.