As 2024 begins, it is the perfect time to commit to living a healthy lifestyle. Here are eight New Year’s resolutions to improve your eye health and protect your vision:
1. Schedule an annual, comprehensive eye exam. Regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist or optometrist are critical to maintaining the overall health of your eyes even if you aren’t experiencing any vision issues. Early detection of common eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration is important to achieve optimal treatment. During an eye exam, your eye doctor may even spot early signs of other overall health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or stroke risk.
2. Eat a healthy diet. Try to eat a diet that is low in fat and full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This can help to reduce your risk of developing cataracts or age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Look for foods rich in vitamin A, vitamin C vitamin E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Stop smoking. Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable disease and can increase your risk of developing eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, uveitis and cataracts. Quitting at any age can significantly reduce your risk.
4. Exercise. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. This helps you to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight — all important ways to improve your overall health and eye health.
5. Wear sunglasses. Even on winter and overcast days, wear sunglasses whenever you are outside. They help to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays which over time can increase your risk for developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
6. Rest your eyes. Try to follow the 20-20-20 rule if you work on a computer. Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
7. Wear protective eyewear. When you are playing sports or working with power tools, be sure to wear protective eye equipment to help prevent eye injuries.
8. Know your family history of eye disease. Many eye diseases and conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma can run in families. Learn your family’s history and share it with your eye doctor to help detect any signs of potential disease early when treatment can be most effective.
You can click here to read another blog article about diet and which vitamins promote eye health. Always be sure to talk to your retina specialist or general ophthalmologist before starting any nutritional supplements.