Health and wellness practices are getting a lot of attention these days. People understand the importance of things like like exercising, eating healthy foods and using sunscreen. But as you’re counting miles on the treadmill or taking in waves on the beach, are you thinking about how you’re able to see these things? Our eyes play a key role in allowing us to sense the world around us, but we don’t often think about how to keep them healthy along with the rest of our body. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take that will set you up for good long-term eye health.
- Have an eye exam. You have to know how healthy your eyes are right now in order to know how to keep them healthy. A vision screening at work or at a health fair is a great start to establish a baseline. However, it’s best to follow up with a complete dilated exam with an ophthalmologist to ensure nothing is missed.
- Know your family’s eye health history. Do people in your family have eye problems like macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinal detachments? Telling your eye care provider will help them advise you on proper eye care based on family history.
- Wear sun protection regularly. UV light can accelerate cataract formation and hasten development of macular degeneration. Make sure the sunglasses you wear block 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
- Take proper care of your contacts. When you wear contacts daily, it’s easy to fall into lazy habits, like sleeping in them, wearing them longer than recommended, not changing out the solution or not using solution at all. The list goes on, but poor contact lens hygiene dramatically increases your risk of having a vision-threatening infection in the cornea.
- Don’t smoke, or do your best to quit. Cigarette smoke causes eye irritation that can worsen dry eyes and allergies, and also increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Check out the Prisma Health Eye Institute to learn more about eye health or to schedule an appointment with an eye care provider.