“We learn through the eye and not the noggin.” – Will Rogers, The Will Rogers Book, June 1933, p. 121.
Our eyes are our avenue for interacting with the world around us. If our eyes aren’t functioning properly, how we fit into the world may change. As many as 50,000 Americans lose their sight each year, most as a result of treatable or preventable eye diseases.
Keeping Your Eyes in Shape
According to the National Eye Institute, many eye diseases are easy to treat if they’re detected early. The best way to ensure early detection is a yearly comprehensive dilated eye exam.
There are also simple, common sense steps we can all take to keep our eyes in shape.
- Maintain your good health. Certain factors may increase your risk of some eye diseases. Family history, overweight or obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes all place us at higher risk of eye problems. If you suffer any of these conditions, managing it properly can literally save your eyesight.
- Cover up. Minimize your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light outdoors by wearing sunglasses and donning a hat. Long-term exposure to UV light may contribute to cataracts.
- Wear safety eye gear in your workplace. Work-related eye injuries account for sixty percent of all work injuries.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is bad for the entire body, but it is especially damaging to the small blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to your eyes.
- Follow a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Eating a diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables while following a regular exercise routine can help keep your eyes, blood vessels, and your body in good shape.
- Protect your eyes at home. Avoid home injuries by wearing eye protection whenever you’re working with power tools or chemicals.
- Give your eyes a break. When you’re working in front of a computer screen all day, you’ll want to take regular breaks.
- Light up your world. Make certain you have the amount of lighting needed to safely illuminate all the areas of your work space. Bright lights or lights too low can cause eyestrain. Be sure to position your lights correctly when reading or working at your computer.
It Doesn’t Take Much
Often, it’s the small things that bring the biggest reward. Even small shifts in behavior can help keep your eyes healthy well into your senior years. Common ailments, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma don’t have to plague us later in life. Clear vision is worth the small adjustments in our habits.