It’s easy to take your eye health for granted, especially if your eyes feel healthy. But making mindful choices to protect your vision and ensure eye health as you age is one of the most important health care decisions you can make. Steward Health Care is reminding all our community members to take concrete steps that will set you up for seeing well – now, and into the future.
Get a regular dilated eye exam. Many eye diseases show no symptoms or warning signs – which is why it is important to see an eye doctor for a regular dilated eye exam. During the exam, an eye specialist will check your eyes for any vision problems that make it hard to see clearly. Ask your primary care doctor how often you should get an eye exam. For individuals at a higher risk for eye disease – including all patients over the age of 60, African Americans over the age of 40, and those with a family history of glaucoma – the National Eye Institute recommends a dilated exam every one to two years.
Wear sunglasses. This summer, don’t forget your sunglasses – they’re for more than looking cool! Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from UV (ultraviolet) light, which can damage the eyelid, cornea, lens, or retina. Look for sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection to make sure they are filtering out all harmful UV rays.
Eat for your eye health. Lasting eye health starts with a healthy diet. Studies show that a variety of nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and Vitamin C and E can help prevent age-related eyesight issues including macular degeneration (a deterioration of the retina that impairs vision) and cataracts. Some smart options to choose for better eye health include: leafy greens like kale and spinach, oily fish including salmon and tuna, non-meat protein sources including eggs and beans, and citrus fruits.
Step away from the screen. We’ve all spent more time in front of our computers this year. But too much screen time can cause “computer vision syndrome,” which can cause uncomfortable eye strain and discomfort. To prevent strain, make sure to sit about two feet away from your computer screen, make sure your monitor is slightly lower than eye level, and use a larger font to make sure your eyes aren’t working too hard to see letters and numbers.
For more tips on how to protect your eyesight check out Healthy Vision resources from the National Eye Institute.
To find a provider in our network, visit Steward DoctorFinder™ or call 800-488-5959.