(RxWiki News) We know to brush and floss to keep our teeth in tip-top shape and to eat right and work in some cardio at the gym for our heart's sake. But what about our eyes?
Whether we know it or not, there are actually lots of steps we can take to help our eyes stay healthy and our vision clear.
Armed with a little knowledge, taking care of those baby blues — or browns or greens — can be as routine and easy as taking care of our smiles.
Don't Go It Alone
One of the most important aspects of eye health is having regular eye doctor appointments.
Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk for diabetic retinopathy and therefore require more frequent eye exams. Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that results from damaged blood vessels in the retina (found in the back of the eye). This damage is caused by high blood sugar levels and can lead to blindness.
For individuals who do not have risk factors or signs of eye disease, eye appointments are recommended based on age:
- Younger than 40: Schedule exams every five to 10 years.
- Between the ages of 40 and 54: Schedule exams every two to four years.
- Between the ages of 55 and 64: Schedule exams every one to three years.
- Age 65 and older: Schedule exams every one to two years.
These recommendations are based on guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Mayo Clinic. How often you see an eye doctor will depend on several factors, such as your age, health conditions and risk for eye disease. Because these are just general guidelines, you should talk to your eye doctor to determine how frequently you should be scheduling eye exams.
If you wear glasses, have a family history of eye disease or face a raised risk of eye disease, you will have to have your eyes checked more often.
For example, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that adults with diabetes initially receive a comprehensive eye examination within five years of type 1 diabetes onset or at the time of diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. After the initial eye exam, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends dilated eye exams every year.
Furthermore, African Americans age 40 or older, as well as those with a family history of glaucoma, are considered to be at higher risk for glaucoma and are recommended to have a dilated eye exam every two years.
Sport Those Shades
Protect your eyes with sunglasses. Wearing proper protective eyewear is a great way to protect your eyes from the sun and long-term eye damage. When choosing sunglasses, style should be second to UV protection. Ensure your sunglasses are labeled to protect against 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Choose large, oversized, wrap-around frames for additional protection on the sides of the eyes.
Finish off the look with a wide-brimmed hat or sports cap for additional protection on those extra sunny days.
Eat for Eye Health
Research published in 2001 found that vitamins C, E and A were important for eye health. Make sure your diet is balanced with fruits and vegetables, especially carrots, sweet potatoes and leafy greens.
By taking simple steps with eye health in mind, you can help lower your risk of developing vision problems. Talk to your pharmacist for over-the-counter supplement recommendations to benefit your eye health.