Unlike many other species, us humans primarily rely on our vision. We’ve started relying on it so much that we have stopped paying attention to our other senses. However, our eyes are among the most vulnerable parts of our bodies. Since they can be damaged easily, and are often genetically flawed, you have to take care of them properly. This guide will help you learn how to protect your eyesight and keep your eyes healthy.
Avoid Direct Exposure to Harmful UV Light
Whenever you find yourself outdoors, always make sure you wear sunglasses that shield your eyes from sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. These rays can cause cataracts, pinguecula and other complications.
Eat Healthy Food
Okay, your parents have doubtlessly told you all about carrots’ ability to improve vision and it is completely true! Beta-carotene is a type of vitamin A that is good for the retina and other eye parts, and it also gives the carrot that orange hue. So yes, orange-coloured fruits are great for eyesight. However, there are other foods, that will help you keep your eyes in shape.
- Leafy greens – Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts and they can both be found in leafy green veggies!
- Eggs – The egg yolk is a great source of the mentioned antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, but it also supplies our bodies with zinc, which helps reduce macular degeneration risk.
- Almonds – These foods have been a hype for the past decade for a reason – they are filled with vitamin E, which, in addition to many other benefits, slows macular degeneration.
- Citrus fruits and berries – Rich with vitamin C, these fruits also reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
Vulnerable as they are, eyes are extremely susceptible to a variety of diseases, which are often related to genetics and sometimes even to recessive genes. Diabetes and high blood pressure may lead to eye damage, especially if you are a 65+-year-old person with diabetes and/or high blood pressure in family history. It is important that you note everything you know about your genetics, especially when it comes to your eyesight.
Visit Your Doctor More Often
It is better to visit your doctor on a regular basis, than to try and guess how likely you are to suffer from any type of disease, on your own. When it comes to diabetes, if left untreated, it can cause significant eye problems and blood flow obstructions, clots and the like. When combined, high blood pressure and diabetes can lead to vision loss, caused by diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and eye strokes. Having your eyes checked by the doctor should be done regularly – biannually, at the very least.
Eye Health through Life Stages
Birth to 30s
A newborn baby’s eyes are crystal clear and flexible, with strong zonules. As a person ages, the zonules become less effective. A child or an adolescent may or may not need corrective lenses, depending on their eye shape – if the eyeballs are too long, or too short, a person is nearsighted or farsighted. Whenever there’s a change in your vision, visiting an optometrist is an obvious choice, regardless of your age.
This is a decade of presbyopia – the period when humans start losing the ability to focus up close, or, quite simply put, the age of reading glasses. If you’ve always had healthy eyes, you can expect presbyopia to appear in your early 40s, the nearsighted can expect this at their late 40s, while the farsighted are likely to feel the need for reading glasses in their late 30s.
50s and Onward
As the years go by, your lenses are likely to harden and the need for stronger corrective lenses will rise. In addition, at this age, your risk of developing eye diseases is gradually increasing. Here is the list of the most common diseases:
- Cataracts – These are formed when the eye lenses become cloudy. In addition to age, as the obvious culprit, one can blame sun exposure and smoking as contributors.
- Glaucoma – This disease is a result of a pressure buildup in the eyes, which damages optic nerves. The results are loss of peripheral vision and potentially even blindness.
- Macular degeneration – Already mentioned a couple of times, this disease causes the central line of sight to become impaired. Usually, this affliction first manifests as blurry vision. The UV light and smoking can contribute to macular degeneration.
Making sure that your eyes remain healthy is of utmost importance. Pay visits to your doctor as often as possible and learn what to expect from your eyesight in each period in life.