10 Tips for Healthy Eyes
4. Stock Your Home Medical Kit with Saline Solution
When pouring chemicals or using power tools, you should always wear safety goggles. But that level of protection isn’t necessary around the house, so if you accidentally splash soap or cleansers in your eye, the first thing you should do is rinse thoroughly with saline for 10 to 15 minutes. That may seem like a long time, but rinsing is the best way to clear the eyes. If you still experience irritation after that, visit your eye doctor.
5. Replace Your Contact Lens Case Every Two to Three Months
“A huge reason why my patients experience complications is that they don’t clean their lens cases,” says Dr. Lowe. “People throw them into their pockets or purses or store them in a humid bathroom, which is a breeding ground for bacteria.” So replace your case often and keep it in a clean, dry place. After you put in your contacts, be sure that the case is empty of all solution: Dump it out, then rinse and dry the case before you store your lenses in it again.
6. Drink Caffeine—but Not Too Much
Good news for coffee and tea drinkers: Two servings of a caffeinated beverage daily are good for protecting against dry eyes (this helps us produce tears, which keep the eyes moist). But keep in mind that more than two servings can deplete your tear film and dry out your eyes, which can contribute to irritation.
7. Give Your Eyes a Break from the Computer Screen
If you work in front of a computer screen all day, use the 20-20-20 rule to let your eyes rest: Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away or more for at least 20 seconds. It helps break the eyes’ constant strain of focusing from doing close work, like reading or looking at a computer monitor. And always be sure that you’re a comfortable arm’s distance away from what you’re looking at or reading, says Dr. Lowe. Another reason to give your eyes a break: According to Dr. Lowe, when we concentrate, whether it’s on reading or on the computer, we blink about half as many times as we do when we aren’t concentrating. Blinking is how we bring fresh tears to the corneal surface, which helps your eyes stay moist and free of irritants. So the more we concentrate, the drier our eyes become.
8. Eat Leafy Greens, Dark Berries and Cold-Water Fish
Eating carrots to improve our vision is an old wives’ tale, says Dr. Lowe. (Though they can’t hurt—you just have to eat a whole lot of them to reap any benefits.) But don’t discount the power of other fruits and veggies. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts, as well as dark berries, like blueberries and blackberries, are rich in lutein, a type of carotenoid that protects against macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60. Foods rich in omega-3s, like walnuts and fresh cold-water fish, have been found to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels of the eye.