Poor eyesight can be caused by a variety of factors. These include having an unhealthy diet, not getting enough sleep, working for long periods in dim light, and too much screen time.
Smoking, not protecting your eyes from the sun and glare, and low water intake can also lead to poor eyesight.
The good news is that these causes share one common element: they are avoidable. As such, you can maintain your eye health and avoid developing poor eyesight by making some changes in your lifestyle.
Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
Specialists from a trusted eye clinic in Dubai enumerate below six simple yet effective ways for maintaining your eye health and vision:
1. Maintain a balanced diet.
A poor diet is one of the leading causes of eyesight deterioration. If you want to maintain your vision, you need to start by eating more healthy foods.
Vitamin C, D, and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids are some important nutrients you need to protect your eye health. They also help keep age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts at bay.
To get these nutrients, eat more of the following:
- Kale, collard and turnip greens, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables
- Orange, persimmon, and other citrus fruits and fresh juices
- Mackerel, salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Nuts, beans, and legumes
These foods not only help you maintain the quality of your vision; they also enable you to keep a healthy body overall.
2. Drink more water.
Staying hydrated is important for maintaining good health. It also helps you keep your good eyesight.
The eye is surrounded by fluid, which washes away debris and dust every time you blink. You can help replenish the lost fluid and maintain a healthy balance of fluid in the eye by drinking plenty of water all day.
Drink at least eight glasses of water every day. You can supplement your fluid intake with fresh fruit juices, smoothies, herbal teas, and other healthy beverages.
Keep in mind that staying hydrated also helps you maintain a healthy body. Because of this reason, drink plenty of water daily.
3. Get enough sleep every night.
Lack of sleep affects the body in various ways.
When you don’t get enough quality shuteye daily, you increase your risk of having high blood pressure and experiencing unhealthy weight gain. It can also weaken your immune system and lead to mood changes and memory issues.
It can also affect your eye health.
The eyes need at least five hours of sleep every night to rest, re-energize, and function properly during the day. If you don’t get this amount of slumber, you may experience eye strain, dry eyes, and twitchy eyelids.
As such, try to go to bed early daily. Aim for at least seven hours to give your body more time to recuperate and rejuvenate, even if your eyes need only five hours to rest.
If you wear contacts, don’t forget to remove them before sleeping to allow your eyes to rest fully.
4. Protect your eyes when working.
Office work today often means working in front of a computer nearly all day. Staring at a screen for long periods can cause blurry vision, dry or itchy eyes, and double vision. It can also cause eyesight deterioration.
If your work requires you to sit in front of a computer for long hours, follow these tips to protect your eyes:
- Ensure you sit at least an arm’s length away from your screen. The monitor should also be four to five inches below your eye level.
- Work in an area with soft lighting, and use blinds or tilt your screen to deflect glare. Too much brightness can also cause vision issues in the future.
- Adjust the brightness of your monitor accordingly. For instance, if you are in a dim room, dim the screen. Also, wipe your screen regularly since dust particles can reflect light and also cause glare.
- Blink often. Blinking keeps your eyes lubricated and transfers oxygen to the cornea, which can help you avoid having dry eyes and experiencing eyestrain.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. To avoid straining your eyes while working, look away from the screen every 20 minutes and direct your gaze towards at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. Doing so allows your eyes to move from short to long distance perception and give them some much-needed rest.
5. Invest in the right eyewear.
If you notice changes in your eyesight, see your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. You may need glasses to correct your vision and reduce eyestrain.
Ask your specialist for lenses with anti-glare tint. Doing so allows you to protect your eyes when working.
Also, if you wear contact lenses, consider switching to glasses while you are working. Contacts can sometimes cause irritation and dryness when worn for long periods.
Additionally, wear UV-blocking sunglasses when going out. Using then can delay the start of cataracts. Moreover, they can prevent retinal damage.
Wearing sunglasses when going outdoors can also protect the eyelid skin, which can prevent both wrinkles and skin cancer around the eyes.
6. Stop smoking.
Smoking and using tobacco products cause many adverse effects on the body. These have been linked to cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, including asthma and allergies, a weakened immune system, unhealthy skin and hair.
Smoking can also cause vision problems.
Long-term smoking and tobacco use can put you at higher risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or AMD, and damage to the optic nerve.
These unhealthy habits have also been linked to dry eyes.
Try to kick these unhealthy habits as soon as you can. The earlier you stop smoking and using tobacco products, the healthier your body will be.
As a final tip, get regular eye screening. These eye exams will help you protect your eyesight and prevent vision problems from getting worse.
If you have not gotten an eye exam yet, during a routine screening, your ophthalmologist will:
- Review your overall health and family history of eye diseases, including cataracts and glaucoma.
- Conduct vision testing to see if you are nearsighted or farsighted and have astigmatism or presbyopia.
- Do refraction testing to check the sharpness of your near and distance vision.
- Conduct a dilated eye exam to check your retina and optic nerve.
- Do eye pressure and optic nerve exams to check for glaucoma.
By following these simple steps, you can take better care of your eyes, ensure they remain healthy, and reduce your chances of vision loss in the future.
Dr. Millicent M. Grim, Specialist Ophthalmologist & LASIK Specialist, is the Medical Director of Gulf Eye Center in Dubai. Since 2002, Gulf Eye Center’s highly qualified ophthalmologists and optometrists/ODs have been successfully treating a wide range of eye conditions using advanced techniques. They also provide comprehensive eye care and vision restoration procedures for people of all ages.