Make Your Eyesight a Priority in The New Year

The end of the year is a time when many look back at the past year and strive to make the next one better. At the top of many New Year’s resolution lists is the goal of improved health. When you are making your list for the coming year, don’t neglect your eye health.

Eyesight is one of our most essential senses. However, it is easy to forget that unless you experience a problem. Preventative care can stop problems before they even happen. You may be surprised to learn there are some simple steps, such as maintaining a healthy diet, taking eye vitamins, cutting back on screen time and reducing UV exposure, that can help you maintain healthy eyes throughout your life.

1. Minimize screen time

Too much screen time can cause eyesight problems such as eye strain and dry eyes. For one thing, we blink less when staring at a device or computer screen. In fact, our blink rate is reduced by 66% when we are working on a computer.

Additionally, personal devices emit more blue light than other colors. The wavelength of blue light is shorter, meaning it emits more energy and can pass through the eye into the macula. The macula is the part of the retina at the back of your eye, and it’s responsible for central vision.

It’s best to take breaks from personal devices when you can. Of course, given how technology is so integrated with our everyday lives, that can of course be difficult.

But there are still ways to protect your eyes while you’re using devices:

  • Rest your eyes. The American Optometric Association recommends we follow the 20-20-20 rule to avoid eye strain. This rule is simple to remember: Every 20 minutes you are looking at screens, look away for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away.
  • Adjust the light level on your screens. You don’t want your screen to be brighter than the surrounding light, as it can create eye strain.
  • Use artificial tears to keep your eyes from feeling dry.
  • Try blue light glasses. These glasses filter the blue light wavelengths coming from your screen.

2. Take eye vitamins

When you’re thinking of your eye health, don’t neglect the role that diet plays. Your eyes need key vitamins and nutrients to function at their best. To ensure you aren’t missing out on any nutrition from your diet, you may want to consider a supplement containing vitamins for eyes.

Look for supplements containing the following:

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that accumulate in the macula. As we age, they deplete and cause eye-related issues. These nutrients are carotenoids that give vegetables their bright orange or green colors. They have a role to play in supporting eyes that are frequently exposed to blue light.
  • Vitamins E and C are antioxidants that have been found to protect the cells in your eyes from damaging free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells.
  • Zinc is an important mineral for our eyes. It’s involved in the process of melanin, which is a protective pigment for the eye.

3. Eat a healthy diet

In addition to taking a supplement, it is always a good idea to get your nutrients from the foods you eat. The eye vitamins and nutrients we discussed above can be found in certain foods.

The following foods are high in lutein and zeaxanthin:

  • Leafy, green vegetables.
  • Summer squash.
  • Carrots.
  • Broccoli.

The following foods are high in Vitamin C:

  • Oranges.
  • Strawberries.
  • Bell peppers.
  • Tomatoes.

The following foods are high in Vitamin E:

  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Vegetable oils.
  • Green, leafy vegetables.

The following foods are high in zinc:

  • Shellfish.
  • Red meat.
  • Whole grains.
  • Legumes.

4. Reduce UV exposure by wearing sunglasses

The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can be harmful to our eye health. Doctors have found that the longer our eyes are exposed to UV rays from the sun, the more harmful the effects can become. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you wear sunglasses that block 99-100% of both UVA and UVB radiation when you are outside. Look for oversized or wraparound glasses that will prevent light from entering at the sides.

If you’d like to reduce glare, you may want to try polarized glasses. When you choose polarized glasses, be sure to look for ones that protect you from UV rays as well. While they do not offer extra protection from UV rays, they do help to reduce glare during driving or water sports.

The takeaway

Humans, unlike most animals, rely almost entirely on sight for our senses. We can’t afford to take healthy eyes for granted. This is why taking steps to protect our eyesight and getting the proper nutrients and vitamins for eyes is so important. You can be sure you aren’t skimping on eye vitamins and nutrients by adding supplements that are designed for supporting eye health.

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