Many Americans see the doctor every year for a physical. Lots of us also schedule regular visits to the dentist to get our teeth cleaned. But what about our eyes? The fact is, more than 23 million American adults have never had an eye exam. Every Healthy Vision Month, the National Eye Institute (NEI) shares tips and resources to encourage people to take care of their vision — and inspire health professionals to help make eye health a priority. Read on to learn just a few ways to keep your eyes healthy.
- Get an eye examIf your eyes feel healthy, it's easy to assume they are healthy. But getting an eye exam is the only way to be sure. Many serious eye diseases don't have any warning signs — so you could have an eye problem and not know it. Getting an eye exam is the single best way to stay on top of your eye health!
- Know your family's eye health historyTalking to your family members about their eye health can help you find out if you're at higher risk for eye disease. If you learn that eye diseases run in your family, talk with your eye doctor.
- Give your eyes a restIf you spend a lot of time at the computer, you may sometimes forget to blink — and that can tire out your eyes. To reduce eyestrain, try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your work and focus about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
- Eat eye-healthy foodsA diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables — especially dark leafy greens, like spinach or kale — is important for keeping your eyes healthy. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids — like salmon, tuna, and halibut — can also help protect your vision.
- Wear sunglasses (even on cloudy days!)Sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays — and help keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp. When shopping for shades, look for a pair that blocks out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation.