Getting regular eye checkups is just one of many ways you can improve your eyesight and prevent injuries or illnesses that could harm your vision. Keep reading to learn other ways you can improve your vision.
There are things you can do to maintain eye health and potentially enhance your vision, however. These include healthy lifestyle choices like eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and not smoking. Reducing eye strain and protecting your eyes from exposure to UV and excessive blue light are also good for eye health.
There are many myths out there about ways you can improve your eyesight without glasses, contacts or surgery. These include things like exercises for your eyes, eating a lot of carrots, and trying to train your eyes without glasses. Most of these techniques have not been proven effective.
Improve Your Eyesight
Wear protective eyewear
Whether you’re playing racquetball, working in your garage, or doing a science experiment in school, it’s vital that you protect your eyes with appropriate eyewear.
Tough, protective eyewear is essential if there is a risk of chemicals, sharp objects, or materials such as wood shavings, metal shards, or even a stray elbow during a basketball game, entering your eye.
Many protective goggles are made with a type of polycarbonate, which is about 10 times tougher than other forms of plastic.
Manage chronic conditions
Diabetes isn’t the only disease that can affect your vision. Other conditions , such as high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis, can affect your eyesight. These conditions are linked to chronic inflammation, which can harm your health from head to toe.
Inflammation of the optic nerve, for example, can cause pain and even complete vision loss. While a disease such as multiple sclerosis can’t be prevented, you can try to manage it with healthy habits and medications.
High blood pressure can be effectively treated with a heart-healthy diet, exercise and antihypertensive medications.
Yes, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help your eyes, not just your waistline. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common in people who are overweight or obese, can cause damage to the tiny blood vessels in the eyes.
This condition is called diabetic retinopathy. Too much sugar circulating in your bloodstream injures the delicate walls of your arteries. Diabetic retinopathy causes the very small arteries in your retina — the light-sensitive back part of the eye — to leak blood and fluid into the eye, harming your vision.
Getting your blood sugar levels checked regularly and staying fit and trim can lower your odds of developing type 2 diabetes and its many complications.
Get enough key vitamins and minerals
Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the mineral zinc, contain antioxidants that can help prevent macular degeneration. It’s a condition in which the macula — the part of the eye that controls central vision — deteriorates.
Food sources for these important nutrients include a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits, such as:
- red peppers
- sweet potato
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and flaxseed, are also recommended for better eye health.
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That includes sunglasses
Sunglasses aren’t just for looking cool. Wearing shades is one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to improving your eyesight. You want sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation from sunlight.
Sunglasses help protect your eyes from conditions that stem from eye damage. These include cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium — a growth of tissue over the white part of the eye. Pterygiums can lead to astigmatism , which can cause blurred vision.
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can also help protect your eyes from sun damage.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule
Your eyes work hard during the day and need a break now and then. The strain can be especially intense if you work at a computer for long stretches at a time. To ease the strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule.
That means every 20 minutes, you should stop staring at your computer and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
You know smoking is bad for your lungs and your heart, not to mention your hair, skin, teeth, and just about every other body part. That includes your eyes, too. Smoking dramatically raises your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Fortunately, your eyes, lungs, heart, and other body parts can start to recover from years of tobacco-induced harm within the first hours of quitting. And the longer you can avoid cigarettes, the more your blood vessels will benefit and inflammation will ease off throughout your eyes and the rest of you.
Learn your family’s eye health history
Some eye conditions are hereditary , so being aware of eye conditions that your parents or grandparents had can help you take precautions.
Hereditary conditions include:
- retinal degeneration
- age-related macular degeneration
- optic atrophy
Understanding your family history can help you take early precautions
Keep your hands and lenses clean
Your eyes are especially vulnerable to germs and infections. Even things that just irritate your eyes can affect your vision. For those reasons, you should always wash your hands before touching your eyes or handling your contact lenses.
It’s also super important to wash your hands and disinfect your contact lenses as instructed.
You should also replace your contact lenses as advised by the manufacturer or your doctor. Germs in your contact lenses can lead to bacterial infections of the eyes.
The bottom line
You may not associate washing your hands, eating your vegetables, or watching your weight as key steps toward better eyesight, but they all play a role.
Living a healthier lifestyle and protecting your eyes from the sun and foreign objects can’t protect against every eye condition. But they can all lower your odds of developing a problem that could hurt your vision.