If you maintain regular eye exams with your ophthalmologist, you’re already doing a lot to protect yourself from unexpected eye disease. Still, it is important that we discuss the things we can do on a daily basis to promote optimal eye health that can last for many years. Here, we review a few suggestions for supporting eye health.
We can eat our vitamins or take a supplement. Sometimes we need to do both. Vitamins and nutrients that have been shown especially beneficial to the eyes include the following:
- Vitamin A. We can get this nutrient in cheese, leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, and oily fish. Vitamin A supports the cornea.
- Vitamin C. We find vitamin C in citrus fruits, peppers, and broccoli. This nutrient can reduce our risk of cataracts.
- Vitamin E. If you eat nuts and seeds or avocados, you’re eating vitamin E. This nutrient can inhibit retinal damage caused by age-related macular degeneration.
- Lutein. Related to beta-carotene and vitamin A, lutein helps prevent oxidative damage to the retina, which may occur due to the exposure to blue light from our computers and phones. Foods like leafy greens, spinach, and kale are good sources of lutein.
We tend to know that we should avoid smoking to prevent an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer. We don’t often consider what smoking can do to the eyes. According to studies, people who smoke are three-times more likely to develop cataracts and twice as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, a condition that could cause blindness. In addition, smokers are more at-risk for most eye diseases, including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
Practice Sun Protection
Sun protection is something we usually attribute to the reduction in skin cancer risk. However, the eyes also absorb harmful UVA and UVB light. Up to 100 percent of these rays can be blocked by a good pair of sunglasses. And a good pair of sunglasses doesn’t have to be expensive. Wearing sunglasses, even in the car, can significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and glaucoma.
As you might see, maintaining eye health is as simple as attending to general health needs. Eating well, exercising, and avoiding damaging habits work in our favor. For more information about your current eye health or conditions for which you are at risk, contact our office in Skokie, IL at 847-677-2794, where we’re happy to schedule an appointment for you.