According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 20 million people have some sort of eye or vision problem. In addition to this, vision problems and blindness are one of the top adult disabilities. Experiencing major, or even minor vision loss, has personal and social consequences that impact individuals’ quality of life. Vision problems may inhibit basic life activities such as reading, cooking and even walking outside. From a social standpoint, there may be increased relationship stress and social isolation. All of negatively impacts health and increases the risk for developing other health conditions. The good news is that there are excellent preventative techniques to increase eye health.
Cigarette smoke is full of toxic compounds that also hurt the eyes. Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma and AMD. In addition to this, it can damage optic nerves and cause dry eye syndrome. People who smoke double their risk of developing cataracts and uveitis, inflammation of the eye’s middle layer.
Consider having LASIK surgery. This is a simple and safe procedure that will improve your vision in little time. Laser eye surgery reshapes the cornea and can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Over 30 million LASIK surgeries have been performed worldwide. A Utah LASIK surgeon can help correct your vision and even treat astigmatism.
You can exercise your way to healthy eyes. A 2006 study of 4,000 men and women found that regular exercise decreased the participant’s chances of developing AMD by over 70 percent. Consistently exercising will reduce inflammation and blood vessel irregularities that come with AMD.
Diet and Nutrition
There are a variety of delicious foods that will improve your eye health. Leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These two are found in the central part of the retina. The best food sources for these are found in kale, spinach, collards and turnip greens. Squash, carrots and other orange and yellow fruits also have them. Eggs deserve a special mention because there is roughly 0.25 mg each of lutein and zeaxanthin in one egg yolk. Eye enhancing protein can be found in fish, especially salmon. The omega-3 fat is concentrated in the retina and produces structural support. Studies have shown that people who consume omega-3 fats reduce their risk of advanced macular degeneration (AMD) by 60 percent. AMD is a degenerative disease that causes the back of the eye to stop functioning, which can lead to severe vision loss.
Computers and Television
According to a recent Nielson poll, the average American spends more than 4 hours each day watching TV. Eye strain is a growing problem that affects between 50 to 80 percent of computer workers. If you will be staring at a screen for long periods of time, make sure that the lighting is neither too bright nor dark. If possible, upgrade to an LCD screen because they are easier on the eyes. Make sure the screen’s brightness matches your surroundings and sit an appropriate distance away. Don’t forget to take frequent breaks and regular look away from the computer screen to blink, refocus and relax your eyes.
You can improve eye health through quitting smoking, having LASIK surgery, regularly exercising, improving their diet, protecting their eyes from electronic screens and changing your lifestyle. Also, don’t forget to wear sunglasses and have an eye exam every year. This will help to change any prescriptions and detect eye problems before they become a big issue.