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Resolve to Take Better Care of Your Eyes

The New Year is already one week under way!  This has our office thinking about New Year Resolutions. Vision care is often one of the last things we think about when we think of making changes to our lifestyle, but caring for your eyes is so important!  What is the one sense we would hate to lose? Sight!  Here are some helpful suggestions from Dr. Jennifer Kessler to help you resolve to take better care of your eyes in 2015:

Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet:

Nutrition plays a major role in the health of your eyes. Including things such as Omega 3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamin A, C, and D into your daily meals can help improve your vision and reduce your risks for developing eye related diseases.

  • Omega Fatty Acids are known to help slow the progression of macular degeneration and reduce the effects of dry eye. They can be found in oily fish such as salmon and tuna, as well as in walnuts and flax seeds.
  • Leafy Greens (such as kale and spinach), along with kiwi, grapes, eggs, zucchini, an squash are all good sources of lutein which has been found to increase the protection of your retina against diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Vitamin A plays a role in protecting the cornea, which helps decrease the sensation of dryness. Vitamin A also works with Zinc to produce melanin in the retina which is a protective pigment.
  • Vitamin C helps lower the risk of developing cataracts and supports the health of ocular blood vessels. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits and vegetables.

Wear Sunglasses:

Ultraviolet Rays from the sun are harmful and can speed up the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.  An easy way to avoid damage caused by the sun is to wear a good pair of sunglasses.

  • A good pair of sunglasses should have 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Although contact lenses generally contain some amount of UV treatment, it is important to wear sunglasses for full protection.
  • Polarized lenses help reduce glare and limit the amount of light your eye is exposed to by blocking horizontal light.

Use Safety Eyewear when Appropriate:

Wearing safety lenses or goggles while working with metal, wood, or other hazardous materials is very important–every time!  Also, many athletes should wear some form of safety goggles while participating in sports such as racquetball, football, hockey, etc.

Take Breaks from the Computer:

Prolonged computer use can lead to eye strain, blurry vision, dry eye syndrome, and muscular pain in the neck, back, and shoulders.  There are several things you can do throughout the day to help alleviate these symptoms.

  • Make sure that you have an updated Rx that is acceptable for computer use.  Be sure to mention the amount of time you spend working on the computer to your eye doctor so he/she can adjust your glasses accordingly!
  • Position the computer so it is below eye level.  Your eyes should align with the top of the computer screen.  This is especially helpful if you are using progressive addition lenses or no-line bifocals.
  • Choose a comfortable, supportive chair and be sure to sit with your feet flat on the floor.
  • When you are concentrating on a task, whether it be on the computer or when reading, your blink rate decreases.  This can cause your eyes to dry out and leads to blurry vision and discomfort.  It is helpful to keep a bottle of artificial tears near your desk to alleviate this discomfort.  You can also try conscientiously blinking more frequently to help battle this effect.
  • The most important tip to help keep your eyes healthy and functioning at their highest level with prolonged computer use is the 20/20/20 rule.  Rest your eyes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.  And if possible, try to take a 5 to 10 minute break every 2 hours.

Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly:

It is important to get regular eye exams to help protect your eyesight and monitor the health of your eyes.  This applies to people who do not currently wear eyeglasses or contacts too!

  • Many eye diseases have no blatant symptoms until the end stages, so it is important to catch them early and start treatment as soon as possible!