Do you have perfect vision? If so, that’s wonderful!
The truth is that many people take healthy vision for granted. But there are so many eye conditions that may creep up and steal away precious eyesight. That’s why it’s so important to be proactive about preserving vision for your lifetime.
Here are some simple tips to protect your precious eyesight:
- At home: An accidental splash of oven sprays and bleach-based cleaners can permanently damage the eye surface causing scarring and blindness. When cooking, cleaning, gardening, doing yard work, doing home improvement projects, etc., always wear safety glasses or protective eyewear to shield your eyes.
- At work: For people who work outdoors or with chemicals or heavy equipment, always use goggles, glasses, or some form of protective eyewear. Small shards from grinding metal can penetrate the eye causing an eye emergency. For those who look at computer screens all day, this may cause eye strain. Take regular breaks and sit at an arm’s length from the computer screen. Use artificial tears if your eyes become dry and adjust screen brightness to match the room light.
- At festivals and parties: Stay at a distance when watching fireworks or popping champagne bottles.
- Playing sports: Any sports that involve a ball and a racquet pose a hazard to your eyes. To prevent any sports-related eye injuries, always wear glasses, eye protection, or a helmet with a safety visor.
- Exploring the outdoors: Sunlight and allergic reactions to pollen are the risks to your eyes when outdoors. Always wear sunglasses when exposed to the sun, even in the winter. If you get itchy, red eyes outdoors, see your doctor about allergies.
- Traveling: When traveling, always bring sunglasses, spare prescription glasses, eye drops, spare contacts, and contact lens solution. Do not wash your contacts in tap water. See an ophthalmologist immediately, wherever you are, if your eyes before red, sensitive, or painful to indoor light.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking is associated with a variety of eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Secondhand smoke also has an effect on your eyes, especially for children. Try your best to avoid exposure to both firsthand and secondhand smoke.
- Drinking and Dining: Nutrition plays a key role in the health of our eyes. Dark green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach contain vitamins that protect the delicate tissue in our eyes. Orange vegetables like squash and carrots also keep our eyes healthy.
- Putting on makeup and cosmetics: Sharing make-up can spread bacteria. Infection-causing bacteria also easily grow on liquid eye make-up. Dispose eye make-up after 3 months. Steer clear of tattooed eyeliners, which can make your eyelids permanently dry and irritated. Apply eyeliners outside the lash line and avoid glitter or metallics. Get eyebrow tinting and shaping only from a professional. Always remove makeup before going to bed. See an ophthalmologist if you experience persistent pain and redness from eye cosmetics.
- Playing with kids: Children should wear eye protection or helmets with visors for sports such as football, hockey, and baseball. Projectile toys are not safe for toddlers and there should always be adult supervision for older children playing with dart guns, etc.
Stage in Life:
- Pregnancy: Dry eye and blurry vision are normal eye changes during pregnancy. If these changes last after you’re a new mother, speak to your doctor. If you are pregnant and have diabetes, you may have other risks, so it is important to have your eyes checked during the early stages of pregnancy.
- Early Childhood: What is good for your child’s eyes are also good for his/her overall health. Spend time outdoors, eat fruits and vegetables, and get fresh air. Keep vaccines up to date as well. Make sure to have cabinet and drawer locks set in place so children can’t reach toxic cleaning products, knives, etc.
- College: College students spend a lot of time on their computers. Don’t forget to take off contacts before bed as they can lead to an eye infection and cause permanent vision loss. If you forget to take off your contacts before bed and end up with a painful, red eye, see an ophthalmologist immediately.
- Adulthood: Vision screenings are essential in adulthood. You should have a baseline eye screening by the time you reach 40. If you wear contacts or have diabetes, it is advisable to get an eye screening much earlier and more often.
- Golden Years: Your eyes age along with the rest of your body. Regular screenings improve your chances of detecting and treating eye diseases before they damage your vision. At around age 40, blurry close-up or near vision may start to occur, which is fairly common. But sometimes blurry vision may signal macular degeneration.
- Migraine: Migraine headaches come with warning signs such as vision changes and nausea. Seeing zigzag lines, flashes, geometric colorful shapes, or shimmering may mean that a migraine is about to occur. There are medications available for treating migraines. Speak to your doctor to find the right one for you.
- Pink Eye and Infectious Diseases: Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis occurs when the tissue covering the whites of the eye gets irritated. This is usually caused by an infection or allergies. Pink eye caused by a viral or bacterial infection is extremely contagious. Treatment for bacterial pink eye includes antibiotic eye drops and cold compresses to reduce discomfort.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: STD’s can have an effect on the eyes, such as syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, pubic lice, and venereal warts. Infection may spread to the eyes. Practice safe sex to protect your eyes from STD’s.
- Stay On Top Of It: Regular eye screening is the best way to detect and treat eye diseases. Many eye diseases progress without showing any symptoms, such as glaucoma.
- Detect Other Health Conditions: Regular eye exams can detect many non-eye conditions such as arthritis, Alzhiemer’s, and diabetes.
Learn more on maintaining healthy vision HERE.
Adapted from AAO.org