Caring for Your Eyes
Seeing your highly trained Spokane Eye Clinic ophthalmologist or optometrist regularly is the best way to protect the health of your eyes. That means every two or so years until age 60 and annually thereafter.
Preventative care and maintenance is equally important. Wearing proper eye protection, limiting the harmful influences on your eyes, maintaining a proper diet, and exercising regularly all help minimize the risk of disease and safeguard your vision.
Always wear proper eye protection on the job, while doing potentially hazardous tasks at home such as pounding nails or working with chemicals, and while playing sports with high risk of eye injury like basketball, racquetball, tennis, or baseball.
Over exposure to the ultra violet portion of sunlight has been shown to be damaging to the skin and eyes. Sunglasses with protection from both UVA and UVB may help prevent eye diseases like macular degeneration or cataracts.
Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Smoking is damaging to the blood supply, leads to cellular damage and high cholesterol levels, and inhibits vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from reaching the eye. As a result, the risk of developing cataracts increases more than three times and macular degeneration more than 2.5 times.
Scientific data shows alcohol consumption can also increase cataracts risk, likely due to a lower nutrient supply and excess toxins. More than one alcoholic drink per day can increase the risk two to four times.
A Balanced Diet
Nutritional imbalances in the circulatory system can affect the eye. A healthy retina needs a good supply of vitamins A, E, and C. Antioxidants also help protect the body's cells from free radical and oxidative damage.
Vitamins and minerals found in fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens are good for health and vision. Three to six daily fruit and vegetable servings and one of leafy greens, such as broccoli or spinach, can greatly reduce risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Strict adherence to special dietary needs is especially important. For example, deviation from a doctor-recommended diet can have series impacts on diabetic patients. High blood sugar levels can damage eye vessels and cause swelling and rupturing of the lens cells. Diabetic retinopathy can develop and cause blindness over extended periods of high blood sugar. Diabetes is the leading cause of visual impairment in the US among patients under age 50.
Good circulation is important for overall health, especially your eyes. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the eye. Physical activity helps maintain good circulation and may prevent stiffening of the blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and improve lipid profiles.
Physical activity at least four times a week can lower intraocular eye pressure and reduce the risk of glaucoma. Physical activity may also reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Jogging, walking, swimming, biking, basketball, soccer, and tennis are just a few examples of some fun and beneficial activities that can help improve your health.
High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Research indicates a significant correlation between eye diseases and blood lipid levels. A diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat significantly increases the level of cholesterol in the blood. High blood pressure, which damages blood vessels, contributes to cholesterol build up and greatly interferes with circulation to the eyes. The combination increases the risk for heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, and eye disease. High blood pressure (>155 mmHg systolic) nearly doubles the risk for macular degeneration.
If you work extensively with a computer monitor, video display, or anything that requires prolonged close focus, look up from the screen and across or around the room occasionally to relieve eye strain. Such breaks can help prevent sight from degrading and avert headaches.