Maintaining good eye health is crucial for our overall health. Unfortunately many take their eyesight for granted until complications develop. In many cases these complications could have been prevented with simple measures had the appropriate steps been taken beforehand.

When talking about eye health one needs to keep in mind the following factors:

Routine Annual Eye Exams

Getting a routine annual comprehensive eye exam is one of the most important things anyone can do for their eyes. We have one pair of eyes and ensuring that they are always looked after is imperative. Many serious eye conditions such as glaucoma have no apparent symptoms in their early and moderate stages and can only be detected with an ocular health exam. With glaucoma, in most cases patients aren’t symptomatic until they are in their advanced stage. By then significant impairment has been done. Early detection is key, as damage done cannot be reversed. It could only be halted or slowed down with treatment. Asymptomatic retinal holes or tears are also another example of what could be detected during routine eye examinations. These retinal problems would typically lead to retinal detachment if not caught and treated in time.

Sun Protection

The sun radiates harmful rays called Ultraviolet (UV) rays; too much exposure to these ultraviolet rays can make you more likely to develop cataracts or macular degeneration. When purchasing sunglasses you should always ensure that they are always 100% UV protected. Constant exposure to ultraviolet rays can result in photochemical eye damage. This UV exposure increases pigmentation in the eye, causing a discoloration and clouding in your crystalline lens, a condition known as cataract. Eye diseases such as macular degeneration, solar retinitis, and corneal dystrophies have all been linked to UV exposure.

Computer Use

Staring at your computer or other digital devices for too long can cause major strain on your eyes and can also cause dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches. To help combat these issues there are simple steps that could be taken to help your eyes cope better: Remember to rest your eyes every 20 minutes by simply looking 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. If you experience chronic symptoms when using digital devices see your optometrists for a comprehensive assessment.\

Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the best things one could do for his or her health all around. I tell my patients that smoking is one of the worst things you could willingly do to your eyes. Many studies have suggested that smoking greatly increases your risk of many ailments including, cataracts, optic nerve damage and macular degeneration to mention a few.

Eating Healthy

Healthy diet is also a key factor in maintaining healthy eyes. Several studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, vitamins C and E may help with ocular

problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Eating some of these foods regularly can help promote retinal health. Some natural sources to obtain these vitamins and minerals from include:

• Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards

• Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish

• Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources

• Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices

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