A recent post by eye specialist Dr. Bill Lloyd on WebMD outlined very nicely how to protect your eyes against some of the most common problems that affect us. After my own research, I couldn’t say it any better than Dr. Lloyd. I really love how the list is organized, to the point and easy for anyone to understand.
First, things everyone should be mindful of:
• Have regular eye exams. Many problems other than blurriness can be subtle and painless, yet quietly damaging.
• Watch your weight and keep your blood pressure below 140/90
• Take a daily multivitamin loaded with antioxidants. We don't know if this helps, but it won't hurt. It'll be years before we know if this changes outcomes.
• Wear sunglasses with 100% UVA/UVB protection. UV damage even on overcast days accumulates over a lifetime to diminish eyesight.
• Know your family history for glaucoma and other eye disorders. Many of these problems are silent till the damage is done. Screening is key.
• Wash your hands frequently. Eye infections are self-inflicted. They don't fly over your shoulder while you're looking the other way.
Now a few tips for specific types of people:
• Smokers: Stop smoking! Degeneration of eyesight is only one of many issues for smokers.
• Diabetics: Control your blood glucose; consistency in diet and exercise is the ticket. If you have a family history of diabetes get your blood sugar checked, even if you feel fine.
• Athletes: Use protective eyewear made of durable polycarbonate. Eye injuries from raquetball, basketball, and other sports can be devastating but absolutely avoidable.
• Young males: Stay away from firecrackers. More risk than benefit playing with these things. Responsible adults need to teach kids about the danger.
• Travelers: Frequently apply artificial tears when in-flight. Prolonged flights of two hours or more or indoor work environments expose us to very dry air that irritates the eye.
Most of the issues are the familiar mantra for living a healthier life. Your eyesight is irreplaceable. The irony is that these problems are preventable or, at the very least, manageable if we set some basic priorities. Small investments in our habits will pay big dividends. Reminding ourselves to focus on the outcome can help sustain our motivation to follow through on some of these very simple things.
Taking these suggestions to heart can go a long way to protecting you against the most common and treatable eye problems that tend to affect us: refractive errors, glaucoma, cataracts, age-relayed macular degeneration, eye trauma, pink eye (conjunctivitis), dry eyes, diabetic retinopathy, ischemic eye disease, and eyelid skin cancers.
Take care of your precious eyesight.