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Article / Eye Health

Eye Health .

By Dr. Justin Bazan, Doctor of Optometry (OD) and medical advisor to The Vision Council
Healthy lifestyle choices often focus on diet, exercise, and healthy habits like quitting smoking and getting more sleep. More than ever, people are taking steps to protect their heart health, joints, and cognitive function but many everyday habits can also protect our vision health, especially as we age.

The eyes are one of the strongest muscles in the body, and need to be taken care of, just like the heart.
Get an Annual Eye Exam
The first place to start is to make an annual eye exam part of yearly health check-ups. A visit to the optometrist for a comprehensive exam tests more than just eyesight—it tests the overall health of the eye.
Not all eye issues affect vision, so having 20/20 vision isn’t necessarily a clean bill of eye health. An optometrist can potentially catch eye issues before they affect vision and recommend the best treatment options.
Eye exams can also uncover symptoms of other health issues, sometimes before symptoms have appeared in other parts of the body. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers can all affect the eyes and be detected through an eye exam, making this health check-up important for overall health.
Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun
Protecting vision from the effects of UV exposure is a healthy habit no matter one’s age. Sunglasses are for more than just a day at the beach.
Walking the dog, gardening, and driving all present opportunities for prolonged UV exposure. Possible effects of this exposure in the short-term include sunburned eyes and sensitivity to light, but long-term exposure can increase the risk of cataracts.
Wearing sunglasses that are rated to block 100% of UV rays each time you leave the house is the first step in protecting against this hazard. Even cloudy days present UV risk. Keeping a pair of sunglasses in the car, at work, and in a few spots around the house ensure that they’re always available when needed.
Eating Well
A healthy nutritional diet has vision health benefits, too. Beta-carotene has long been touted as beneficial to eye health, resulting in jokes about rabbits and carrots and eyesight.
However, many vitamins and nutrients can improve and maintain vision health, specifically vitamins A, C, D, E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. They can be found in a variety of foods, from fish to nuts to colorful vegetables to oranges, all of which have health benefits for the whole body too.