Preventing disease and injuries - Schepens Eye Research Institute

It has been estimated that three quarters of blindness and vision loss is either preventable or treatable. You can optimize your eye health by practicing a healthy lifestyle, having regular eye exams, and protecting your eyes from injury.

Top ten eye health tips:

  1. Get regular eye exams.

    According to the recommendations of the American Optometric Association, if you have no risk factors for vision loss, they suggest eye exams every two to three years until age 40, every two years between ages 40 and 60, and annually after age 60. If you have diabetes, a family history of eye problems, or if you are African-American, you may need more frequent vision exams. People of African-American descent are at a greater risk for developing glaucoma.

  2. Wear sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection.

    Worn consistently, these sunglasses can block ultraviolet and other rays that contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration. Macular degeneration destroys the center of the retina which is necessary for driving and reading. These sunglasses are especially important when near snow or water, which intensify the sun’s harmful rays.

  3. Wear clear plastic eye guards when working around machinery or during projects in the home.

    Small flying objects can do a lot of damage to the eye’s delicate surface.

  4. Take good care of your contact lenses.

    Keep them clean, and don’t wear them if your eyes are irritated or tired.

  5. Eat healthy food. 

    Snack on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins that can prevent eye disease. Green leafy veggies such as kale, collard and mustard greens and spinach contain lutein, which seems to slow the damage from macular degeneration.

  6. Keep your eyes lubricated. 

    As we age, our eyes get drier and driving long hours can worsen already dry eyes. Direct the heat vent away from your face while you drive and pack moisturizing eye drops. Whenever possible eat fish or ground flax seed. These are rich in oils known as omega-3 fatty acids, which can ease the dryness.

  7. Don’t smoke.

    If you do, try to quit. Smoking can injure the eyes in many ways, increasing the risk of optic nerve damage, cataracts, macular degeneration and other disorders.

  8. Give your eyes a break. 

    Any activity that requires your eyes to focus for a long time can keep you from blinking enough. Driving and typing on the computer are two such tasks. Prevent eye strain on the road by stopping and resting your eyes and giving them a drink of artificial tears if they are fatigued or irritated.

  9. Know your family history.

    Check with family members to learn about hereditary eye diseases so you can prevent them early in yourself and your children.

  10. Keep fit.

    All the steps you take to keep the rest of your body healthy can help your eyes. That includes regular exercise to increase circulation and lower blood pressure, which can decrease the risk of glaucoma. And, it means seeing your primary care physician yearly to rule out systems problems such as heart disease and diabetes, both of which affect the eyes.