Eye Healthy New Year’s Resolutions
Happy New Year! If you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution, why not choose one with the added benefit of it being eye healthy too?! Luckily, there are many things that you can do to improve or maintain your eye health. To make it easy for you, we’ve made a list of our top four eye healthy resolutions:
1. Make a commitment to your eye health. Routine, annual eye exams are just as important as annual physicals. And, they’re important for everyone – even if you’ve never worn glasses or contact lenses. Here’s why:
- There are many eye diseases that are silent, or without symptoms. For many of these diseases, early detection can save your sight. For this reason, annual eye exams are extremely important. One of the most common silent eye diseases is glaucoma, which if untreated can cause blindness.
- Oftentimes, signs of systemic diseases appear in the eye before the rest of the body, so an eye exam can also protect more than just your eyesight. Click here to learn more about what to expect during a routine eye exam.
2. Exercise Regularly. This has obvious overall health benefits but can also help maintain healthy eyes. Here are a few reasons why:
- Exercising improves blood circulation. This increases oxygen input to the eyes and facilitates the removal of toxins.
- Recent studies have proven that exercising regularly could help protect you from developing diseases such as glaucoma and ARMD. These are both potentially vision-threatening diseases.
3. Improve your diet. This can help prevent obesity which is not only hazardous to your overall health, but can increase your risk for conditions like glaucoma and diabetes – both of which can lead to vision loss. Here are several foods and supplements that are eye healthy:
- Spinach, kale and egg yolks are naturally high in lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants. Studies have shown that these antioxidants may help guard against the development of ARMD. The macula of the eye is responsible for detailed visual tasks such as reading and discriminating fine detail and color.
- Berries and citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. In addition to other health benefits, Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of developing ARMD and cataracts.
- Fatty Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and trout are rich in DHA – a fatty acid found in your retina. Low levels of this fatty acid have been linked to dry eye syndrome. Eating a diet rich in these types of fish could help combat dry eye symptoms. Click here to read more about dry eye symptoms and treatments.
- Almonds are high in vitamin E. Research has shown that Vitamin E may also slow the progression of ARMD.
- Flaxseed and fish oil supplements can help dry eye symptoms in female patients. These supplements contain short and long chain Alpha 3 omega fatty acids. Physician Recommended Neutraceuticals (PRN’s) are high in both of these supplements, and can be purchased over the counter (without a prescription). These, along with over the counter natural tear drops used daily, can greatly reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes. For the convenience of our patients, both of these are sold in our office. Click here to read more about dry eye treatments.
4. Quit Smoking. By now, everyone should know that smoking is bad for your overall health. What you may not know is that it’s bad for your eye health too. Here are a few reasons why:
- Research has shown that smoking cigarettes puts you at a higher risk for developing eye diseases such as: ARMD, cataracts, and optic nerve damage often associated with glaucoma. All of these diseases are potentially vision threatening.
- Tobacco smoke is an irritant that can exacerbate those annoying dry eye symptoms. This includes second-hand smoke.
Need another reason to take care of your eyes? Research shows it can reduce your risk of mortality by 40%!* Happy New Year!
This blog was originally published on January 3, 2017 and was updated in January 2018 for accuracy.
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