According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 12 million Americans age 40 years and above have eye disorders, including 8 million who have vision problems due to untreated refractive error. If you've been thinking about how to keep your eyes healthy, you’re in the right place. Here are five exclusive tips from experts on keeping your eyesight healthy and preventing diseases.
Go for an eye exam every year.
An annual comprehensive exam with an eye care professional may help identify eye problems early and potentially aid in preventing further complications. “For example, an eye exam can catch if your child has myopia or nearsightedness. This is important because if left untreated, myopia may lead to vision complications later in life,” Andrew Neukirch, OD, clinic director at Carillon Visioncare in Illinois, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, UV-blocking sunglasses reduce the risk of cataracts, retinal damage, and cancer. Make sure you have sunglasses or spectacles that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
“Most prescription spectacles, even when not tinted, provide UV protection. UV light is damaging not only to the skin but to all layers of the eye. UV exposure promotes skin cancer of the eyelids and the mucous membrane of the eye,” Howard Krauss, MD, neuro-ophthalmologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Avoid excessive screen-time.
“Excess screen time may result in symptoms such as blurry vision; dry, itchy, or red eyes; double vision; headaches; or neck strain,” Neukirch says. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, if you have eye strain due to looking at the screen, you should practice the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Know your family’s eye health history.
The National Eye Institute states that some eye diseases, like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, run in families. Therefore, it is important to inform your doctor if any of your family members have a vision problem.
“Oftentimes parents who have an eye condition, such as myopia, have children who are also at risk for that same condition. It’s important to discuss eye health history with your eye doctor to know if you or your child is at risk,” Neukirch says.
Smoking not only harms your lungs but your eyes too. According to the National Eye Institute, smoking may increase your risk of eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.
“Cigarette smoking or second-hand smoke have been incriminated in early and more rapidly progressive cataracts, and an increased risk of vascular disease which may lead to blinding circulatory changes within the retina or optic nerve,” Krauss says.
Start Your Journey To Better Vision Today.
Ready to say goodbye to contact lenses and glasses? WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.