When the solar eclipse last month was all said and done, there were folks in the hospital for putting sunscreen in their eyes, folks suing a major retailer for selling them faulty protective eye wear, and a rapper who had to cancel concerts because he didn’t believe looking at the sun could actually hurt you. This was, of course, after countless weeks and months of a news cycle where reporters told us looking at the sun was dangerous, found stories about people who had done it and suffered, and warned us about fake solar eclipse glasses. They provided tips on protecting your eyes and spotting fake glasses. They warned us about using sunglasses as a substitute. There was an avalanche of information available leading up to the eclipse about protecting your eyes from damage, and still there were people who didn’t listen.
But what about the rest of the time when there are no solar eclipses? How are you caring for your eyes during those times? We all know we should protect our eyes from UV light exposure by wearing UV protective sunglasses whenever we are outside. We also know by now that we should prevent unnecessary exposure to blue light from digital screens. And most people are aware of the 20-20-20 rule to avoid eye strain – every 20 minutes look away from your screens for 20 seconds to a distance of 20 feet.
Protecting your eyes from damage is important, but ensuring they are in good health is equally important. Healthy people should go for regular eye exams even if they don’t have vision problems and aren’t in any danger of developing problems. This can help to detect any potential problems before there is irreversible or significant damage.
In addition to regular eye exams getting proper nutrition can help you preserve your vision. After all, you only get one set of eyes and they aren’t making replacements just yet. We’ve been told since we were kids that carrots are good for our eyes, but why? Beta carotene, which is also found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and more, helps absorb light energy and improves adjustments to different lighting situations. Zeaxanthin and lutein, present in things like spinach, eggs, corn, and kale, lowers your risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts. Zinc from things like beef, poultry, oysters, and beans can also reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration by releasing vitamin A from your liver to be used in your eye tissues. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation that leads to dry eye, vitamin C reduces your risk of developing cataracts, and resveratrol helps with the micro-circulation in your eyes.
Developing age and lifestyle related diseases can add to your eye problems, so it’s especially important to keep your health in check if you want to retain your eyesight. High blood pressure, diabetes, and other ailments can all have a negative effect on your eyesight. Learn more about preventing eye problems from this infographic. Are you doing everything you can to preserve your eyesight?