Leading up to the solar eclipse in North America, we were inundated with instructions on how to care for our eyes during the eclipse. Retailers were all getting in on the action selling special protective eye-wear that would prevent us all from going blind. There were even scandals and lawsuits when it was discovered that some retailers had been selling counterfeit eye protection.
People were hospitalized for putting sunscreen in their eyes. Older folks who had experienced vision loss from previous eclipses pleaded with younger people to heed their warnings. And still people went outside and looked at the eclipse without protective eyewear.
Now that the eclipse is over, there are still plenty of things you can do to protect your vision. If you are not wearing UV protective sunglasses every day, that’s the first place to start. UV damage can cause cataracts, which is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Diabetes also decimates vision when it is not kept in check and thousands of Americans go blind every year because of this.
Even if you are the picture of health, you still need to go in for regular eye exams. Most people should get eye exams every other year, and older folks should get their eyes checked yearly. But you can also keep tabs on your nutrition to ensure you are doing everything to preserve and maintain good eyesight for life.
Beta carotene helps your eyes adjust to low light, while lutein helps reduce your risk for macular degeneration. Zinc releases the vitamin A from your liver so it can be used in your eye tissues. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and prevent dry eye symptoms. Vitamin C reduces your risk of developing cataracts. Resveratrol prevents circulation problems in your eyes.
You also need to look up from your screens once in a while to prevent dry eye, eye strain, and other serious medical problems that come from our increasing dependency on digital screens. Follow the 20-20-20 rule- every 20 minutes look away from your screens to a distance of 20 feet for at least 20 seconds. Kick the smoking habit and make sure you always protect your eyes according to whatever activity you are doing, from mowing the grass to woodworking to just lying on the beach.
Learn more about eye health from this infographic. You only get one set of eyes in your lifetime, so you’d better protect them!