Visual impairment and eye diseases are on the rise. Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and other vision problems. About 2.9 million Americans have low vision and another 1.3 million are blind.
These numbers are expected to increase over the next decades. Cataracts, for instance, affect over 24 million Americans. It is estimated that more than 28.7 million will develop this condition by 2030.
Fortunately, most eye diseases are largely preventable. Simple lifestyle changes, such as limiting screen time and increasing your antioxidant intake, can ensure that your eyes stay healthy. Here are some proven ways to maintain good eyesight:
Tweak Your Diet
Certain nutrients promote eye health and may prevent macular degeneration. Vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3s should come first on your list.
Cold-water fish, for example, is rich in essential fatty acids that protect against cataracts and dry eyes. Make sure you eat at least two servings of tuna, salmon, mackerel, or sardines each week. If not, take fish oil supplements.
Leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants may prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. They also lower the risk of light-induced oxidative damage and improve visual acuity.
Your diet should also include avocado, carrots, tomatoes, eggs, berries, citrus fruits, and brightly colored vegetables. At the same time, it’s recommended to avoid simple sugars, which may contribute to cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye.
Minimize Blue Light Exposure
The TV, laptop, smartphone, and other electronics produce blue light. The average American spends about eight hours and 47 minutes per day using these devices. Your cornea can not filter out the light emitted by these gadgets, which may lead to vision problems.
Headaches, dry eyes, difficulty focusing, and blurry vision are common complaints among those who spend a lot of time in front of the screen.
Moreover, blue light affects the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. Thus, it may contribute to insomnia and impact your overall health.
To stay safe, avoid watching TV or using your smartphone before bedtime. Take a break from your computer or laptop every 30 minutes. Look away from the screen occasionally to prevent eye strain.
Wear a hat or sunglasses whenever you leave the house. Sunlight can dry out your eyes and affect vision.
Also, avoid exposing your eyes to strong wind, dust, and cigarette smoke. Always put on goggles when you go to the swimming pool.
It’s in your power to maintain healthy vision and prevent eye diseases. A balanced diet, proper hygiene, and eye exercises can make all the difference.