Every January, people come up with resolutions they want to stick with throughout the next year. But it doesn’t have to be a new year to make positive changes in your life, especially when it comes to taking care of your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has declared 2020 the “Year of the Eye” and to help you take care of yours, we’ve come up with five resolutions you can follow to keep your eyes healthy in 2020 and beyond.
“Educate. Celebrate. Inspire. 2020 is a year to elevate eye health and put ophthalmologists front and center as the health authority.”
1. Reduce Digital Eye Strain
Can you remember a time when your life didn’t revolve around technology? Now, it seems like you can’t go even a short time without it. Many people spend their days staring at their computer and phone, not realizing the impact it has on their eyes. Approximately 32.4% of Americans report experiencing digital eye strain. The American Optometric Association defines this as “a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader, and cell phone use.”
One way to help prevent this issue is by following the 20-20-20 rule. The rule is simple: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is highly recommended for anyone who regularly uses digital screens. If you’re looking for other ways to reduce digital eye strain, you can invest in a pair of computer glasses, adjust your monitor’s height and brightness, or increase your font size.
2. Wear Sunglasses – Regardless of the Season!
Sunglasses can make you feel stylish, but your favorite lenses may not be properly protecting your eyes from the sun. You should be wearing appropriate sunglasses anytime you are outside, regardless of the season to best protect your eyes. In the summer, when the sun’s rays are the strongest, they can be dangerous for your eyes. While not as strong as they are in the summer, the rays in the winter can still cause damage, especially if they reflect off of the snow.
Finding a pair of sunglasses that work for you can be tough since there are so many different options that can sway your decision. There are a few tips to consider when buying sunglasses to properly protect your eyes:
- Labels should clearly state the lenses block 99 to 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Oversized glasses can provide more coverage, resulting in less damage to the eyes.
- Dark lenses do not work better nor do they block more UV rays than lighter or colored lenses.
- Polarization reduces glare but does not offer more sun protection.
- Less expensive sunglasses labeled as 100% UV blocking can be just as effective as the pricier options.
3. Eat Foods That Promote Healthy Eyes
Did you know that there are 36 vision-healthy foods that you can eat to promote healthy vision? A diet that is full of fruits, vegetables, beans, and fish can not only be good for your health overall, but also be good for your eyes. Below is a list of foods you can incorporate into your diet to keep your eyes healthy.
- Orange-colored vegetables and fruits with vitamin A help turn light rays into the images we see and allow eyes to remain moist enough to prevent dry eye.
- Fruits and veggies rich in Vitamin C help protect the body from damage caused by unhealthy habits and environmental factors and can also help repair and grow new tissue cells.
- Vitamin E helps keep cells healthy.
- Cold-water fish with omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of developing eye disease and are good for tear function.
- Leafy green vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are key to protecting the area of the eye that gives us our central, most detailed vision.
- Beans and zinc help keep the retina healthy and may protect eyes from the damaging effects of light.
4. Increase Keratoconus Awareness With Your Family and Friends
You don’t have to go through your keratoconus journey alone. If you’re comfortable, inform your family and friends that you are living with the condition. It can help them understand what you’re going through, since many people are not familiar with the condition or the available FDA-approved treatment options. Sometimes, the condition can also be misdiagnosed without proper diagnostic tools as astigmatism, so people may not fully understand the impact of the condition.
Keratoconus can also be genetic, and those with a relative who have keratoconus have a 15 to 67 times higher risk in developing corneal ectasia. If you’re living with keratoconus, raising awareness of the condition may encourage your family members to get their eyes checked as there’s a chance they may also be living with the condition.
5. Keep up With Your Eye Health
It’s important to get your eyes checked yearly. However, if you notice any immediate changes in your or a loved one’s vision, even the slightest change, it is important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible, event if it’s before your next scheduled visit.
If you have children, a great time to schedule their eye exams is during back-to-school season. This is important as some children may not recognize they are having vision issues and not mention anything, but these issues may start to affect their schoolwork.
Take Care of Your Eyes!
We understand how hard resolutions can be to keep! However, making even the smallest changes can have a big impact on your eye health. Make sure that you are keeping your eye health a priority this year and always!
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