According to the latest CDC data, more than 61 million adults in the US – or 20 percent of the population – are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half have seen an eye doctor in the last year.
In order to promote proper eye care and eye health awareness, the National Eye Institute has designated May as Healthy Vision Month.
Here are 10 things the National Eye Institute advises you should do to maintain the health of your eyes:
- Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with your eyes, having this exam administered by an eye care professional is the only way to be sure.
- Know your family’s eye health history. Knowing ahead of time whether you’re genetically predisposed to certain eye problems will allow you to take preemptive measures in securing your vision.
- Eat right to protect your sight. Certain foods are important tools in maintaining eye health. Make sure that fruits, vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens), and fish like tuna and salmon are part of your diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Besides all of the other health reasons for maintaining a healthy weight, staying fit will reduce your risk of developing diabetes – a major cause of vision loss.
- Wear protective eyewear. Always be sure to guard against injury to your eyes while playing sports or doing activities that involve the use of harmful chemicals.
- Quit smoking. In addition to all the other health problems smoking causes, it can also increase your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can
lead to blindness.
- Wear sunglasses. Ultraviolet rays aren’t just harmful for your skin; they can damage your eyes as well.
- Give your eyes a break. Working all day on a computer can put strain on your eyes. The 20-20-20 rule involves looking away from the screen about 20 feet ahead of you, every 20 minutes, for about 20 seconds at a time.
- Practice workplace eye safety. If your occupation requires the use of protective eyewear, make sure you wear it at all times.
- Keep your hands and contact lenses clean. To avoid infection, be sure to wash your hands before inserting contact lenses, disinfect and replace them as instructed, and wash your hands before removing them.