How to Live an “Eye-Healthy” Lifestyle

Did you know? Most vision problems are preventable with simple healthy habits. It may come as a surprise just how much control you have over the current and future state of your eyesight. From understanding your family history to incorporating specific foods into your diet, you can make a direct impact on your likelihood to develop certain eye conditions.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) shares several tips and recommendations to incorporate an “eye-healthy” lifestyle into your everyday routine. Read on for some of their suggestions…

Know Your Family History

Many eye conditions are inherited, and select conditions are more likely to present if you have a family member with the disease. For example, the risk of developing macular degeneration is much higher if a close family member also has it. Similarly, if a family member has glaucoma, you are four to nine times more likely than average to also develop it.

For these reasons, it is critically important to talk to your family members about their eye history and conditions. Understand any conditions they may have, or are at risk for, current treatments they are undergoing, or anything their ophthalmologist is watching for that may be of relevance for you. By sharing this information, you can then partner with your ophthalmologist to develop courses of action for your vision. Knowledge is power and sharing across your family can help to preserve vision for all of you.

Focus on Diet and Exercise

We often hear that food and physical activity can have an impact on many elements of our well-being – including vision – but what exactly does this mean for an “eye-healthy” lifestyle? According to AAO, studies have shown that a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables can protect against blinding diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. Specific recommendations include leafy greens, oranges, avocados and cantaloupe.

For exercise, the current recommendation is moderate exercise equivalating to approximately 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Exercise promotes healthy blood vessels in the eye, which research has proven leads to higher eye resilience. This may protect against the overgrowth of blood vessels – commonly found in eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Exercises can be simple and fun – everything from walking, cycling and swimming to active gardening.

Minimize Eyestrain While Working

As more and more jobs have moved to full-time remote work, this means increased screen time with less face-to-face office time. This places a greater emphasis on the importance of protecting your vision while working. Current recommendations are to sit an arm’s length away from your screen and give your eyes a break with the “20-20-20” rule. This means taking a break every 20 minutes while looking at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

If you work in an office or facility that requires protective goggles (factory, construction site, etc.), make sure that you have the correct vision protection and wear it properly. According to AAO, more than 90% of eye injuries can be avoided by wearing proper eye protection.

While there are many other factors to living an “eye-healthy” lifestyle, our experts believe this is a great place to start in protecting your vision. Make sure that you talk with your ophthalmologist about other recommendations they have to preserve your vision. Remember, your lifestyle choices can directly impact your likelihood to develop certain eye conditions, so take an active role in making those healthy choices!