There are many controllable risk factors to prevent vision loss. You do not have to subject yourself to any of them, and you can change any of the ones that you are doing. Here are four lifestyle changes to help you keep your eyes healthy.
Your eyes have some of the tiniest blood vessels of your entire body. Smoking damages blood vessels, and it starts with the smallest ones first. A heart attack caused by a blocked artery is called a myocardial infarction. Tiny infarctions of the blood vessels of your eye can begin long before a much larger artery in your heart is affected. A blocked blood vessel in your retina causes immediate loss of sight in the affected part of your eye.
Your body responds to the food and beverages you put in it. You probably already know that cutting back on red meat and avoiding high-fat and high sodium content foods is wise. Did you know that cutting back on or eliminating caffeine is also good? Caffeine constricts blood vessels, and some people intake large amounts of it on a daily basis. You should be eating your fruits and vegetables, and the vitamin A in carrots is a start. However, lutein and zeaxanthin are important antioxidants for eye health, and they are found in larger amounts in kale, cooked spinach and collard greens.
Get Regular Eye Exams
If you do not make regular visits to your dentist, you may end up needing a cavity filled or even require having a tooth pulled. That is not good, but it will not devastate your life. However, it is critical to have regular eye exams to monitor for, prevent, and treat potential serious conditions that can cause blindness. Professionals, like those at Discover Vision Centers, know that glaucoma is an example of an eye disease that can lead to blindness, and it has no symptoms except slow vision loss that can be overlooked or ignored. You should see an ophthalmologist at least once per year, and more often if you have eye problems or a chronic disease such as diabetes.
Control Your Blood Glucose Levels
Another thing that damages blood vessels is high blood glucose levels. It is reported by the American Diabetes Association that in 2012, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes with 86 million having prediabetes and not even being aware of it. It is important to have your doctor do a blood test to check for elevated blood glucose levels of diabetes or prediabetes. Complications of diabetes include the potential for loss of vision, and tight control of blood glucose levels over the long term is the best protection.
Wear Safety Glasses
You should wear safety glasses when mowing, trimming, using tools and playing any sort of sport that involves risk of injury to the eyes. Metal chips can fly off of hammers, mowers and trimmers can throw rocks, and projectiles in sports can easily strike your eyes. Safety glasses take the impact instead of the delicate tissues of your eyeball. An accident can actually happen faster than the blink of an eye, and being safe is superior to being sorry. Keep safety eyewear available where you have your tools and with sports equipment. Insist that children wear them, and be sure to wear them yourself.
In addition to lifestyle changes to protect your eyes, also consider how much UV exposure your eyes get. Ultraviolet light can lead to the formation of cataracts. You can protect your eyes by wearing good sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays. If you are not sure what your sunglasses protect against, get a pair where you are sure they do more than just make it easier to see in the bright sunlight.