The eye is one of the most complex structures in the body, and in all of nature. It’s amazing what the eye does every day, and every millisecond: It captures a tiny slice of the electromagnetic spectrum and conveys its kaleidoscope of colors and dimensions to billions of neurons at the other end of the optic nerve.
Yet as resilient and complex as your optical structures are, the eyes are also incredibly fragile. Fortunately, protecting your eyes from strain or injury requires very little attention; just a few simple choices, habits, and in some cases, lifestyle modifications. Here, the experienced ophthalmologists of Austin Eye outline the best ways to ensure healthy eyes and clear vision for a lifetime.
Schedule Your Exam
Regular eye exams not only keep your vision sharp if you wear glasses or contacts, but also help the experienced professionals at Austin Eye check for serious issues such as glaucoma, ocular hypertension and macular degeneration. Many of these conditions have few or any symptoms before significant damage has occurred. Early detection is vital.
Shield Your Eyes
Quality sunglasses with high levels of UVA and UVB protection are essential to preventing damage to your eyes and the development of conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. And not just on sunny days — harmful ultraviolet rays easily pass through clouds and reflect off water and light-colored surfaces.
Limit Screen Time
Computer screens and other digital devices emit blue light, as do high-definition TVs and home or office LED lights. Using a screen filter and special glasses designed for computer use, and simply limiting your screen time, are smart ways to protect your eyes and reduce strain.
Guard Against Injury
Use protective eyewear when engaging in vigorous sports or when working with power tools. Always be aware of the potential for trauma and debris in these types of activities. Impact to the eye can cause retinal detachment, which, if not immediately treated, may lead to permanent vision loss.
Don’t Rub Your Eyes
As routine as rubbing our eyes may be, this habit can have negative consequences, ranging from bloodshot eyes to keratoconus. Even a moderate amount of rubbing can result in damage. In the process of rubbing the eyes, your hand may transfer germs to the area, which can cause conjunctivitis or other infections. If there is dirt, debris or a grain of sand in the eye, it can scratch the cornea when you rub your eyes. The effect is even greater if you wear contact lenses.
Keeping contact lenses free of bacteria should be a priority. When bacteria develop on lenses or in lens containers that haven’t been properly cleaned or replaced, serious infection can occur, which in some cases can lead to loss of vision.
Learn Nutrition, From A to B
From an early age most of us learn from our parents, or even a cartoon rabbit, that vitamin A is vital to eye health. B vitamins, along with iron and thiamine, are also essential. Non-starchy plant foods, such as fruits and leafy vegetables, are ideal sources of vitamin B. This eye-healthy vitamin can also be found in whole grains, eggs, dairy products, meat, nuts, seeds and legumes. Also highly recommended are Omega-3 fats and anything that is a good source of lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc.
If you would like to learn more about eye health, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation with one of the board-certified ophthalmologists at Austin Eye. Contact us by calling our North office at (512) 250-2020 or our Central office at (512) 454-2020.