As any optometrist in our Edmonton clinic can tell you, although there are some hereditary factors involved, worsening eyesight as we get older isn’t always just about chance. In fact, there are many behaviours and habits that can hurt your eyesight as you age.
Conversely, there are numerous practices that can help protect your eyesight. Here are seven habits that people with good eye health typically have that you may wish to adopt into your everyday lifestyle:
Get a good night’s sleep. On average, your body needs at least seven to eight hours of sleep to rejuvenate. If you regularly get less than that, your body will be running on a deficit. That can mean poor circulation which, you guessed it, can damage your eyesight over time.
Eat your spinach. Leafy greens like spinach and kale have the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in them. These antioxidants promote eye health and help stave off age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.
Don’t smoke. On top of all the other serious problems smoking causes for your health, it also greatly increases the chance of contracting an eye disease. Smoking can lead to macular degeneration, glaucoma and various other complications.
Don’t forget your omega-3 fatty acids. Although scientists haven’t entirely figured out why this is the case, foods with omega-3 fatty acids seem to play a part in protecting us against macular degeneration and other eye problems. Foods that include omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fish and our old friends the leafy greens.
Unplug every once in a while. Excessive time in front of a screen, whether it be a computer, tablet or smartphone, can damage your health and lead to what experts call Computer Vision Syndrome. If you do a mechanical task with your arm over and over again, it will eventually start to hurt. The same goes for your eyes. Be sure to have the proper lighting when you work and take frequent breaks from staring at the screen.
Wear your sunglasses. Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun don’t just give us sunburns. Over time, they also damage our eyesight and lead to macular degeneration or cataracts. Quality sunglasses, however, will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Get an eye exam regularly. The most important thing you can do to protect your eyes is to regularly see an optometrist for an eye exam.