It’s 2020: That means it’s time to focus on the health of your eyes. If you want a New Year’s resolution that will really have an impact on your overall health and well-being, then resolve to take care of your eye health. Here are our five favorite ways you can focus on your eye health in 2020 and beyond.
Resolution #1: Schedule a comprehensive eye exam
Did you know that your eyes provide a window into your overall health, and that you should have your eyes checked regularly, whether or not you wear contacts or eyeglasses?
When you have a complete eye exam, your eye doctor makes sure your entire visual system — from the visual cortex of the brain all the way to the eyeball — is functioning normally. Annual exams also allow for early detection of life-altering eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.
Beyond that, your eye doctor has a view into the health of your entire body. That’s because certain diseases manifest in the eyes, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
Of course, if you do wear contact lenses or glasses, an eye exam is necessary to keep those prescriptions accurate.
Resolution #2: Wear sunglasses all year long
Shades aren’t just for summer. Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet radiation, eye strain, and even dust and debris, every month of the year and in all kinds of weather. We recommend that you look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
Do you wear corrective eyewear, such as contacts or eyeglasses? Talk to your eye doctor about getting prescription lenses in your favorite sunglasses design.
Resolution #3: Choose foods that keep your eyes healthy
Choosing healthy foods benefits your entire body, including your eyes. The American Optometric Association recommends eating a diet rich in minerals, the right fats, and antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and E, selenium, and carotenoids (beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin).
All of these good-for-you substances can be found in a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of fruits and veggies. Be sure to eat a rainbow of produce — from carrots, beets and kale, to papaya, cranberries and kiwi — to maximize your benefits. And don’t be afraid of healthy fats, such as nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish (think salmon and sardines). These contain essential vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids that decrease the risk of developing certain eye diseases.
Resolution #4: Get daily exercise
Ok, we know that this is a common resolution, but now you have an extra reason to prioritize that workout: It’s actually really important for eye health. For starters, maintaining a healthy weight can help you ward off certain diseases, including diabetes, that impact your vision. New studies have shown that exercise that’s moderate to vigorous in intensity may help lower the risk of glaucoma up to 73%, which is a leading cause of blindness.
The best kind of exercises include things like fast/aerobic walking, jogging, swimming and biking. These improve blood flow to the brain and to the eye. This increased blood flow lowers eye pressure, a risk factor in glaucoma. Talk to your eye doctor about how exercise might improve your overall health.
Resolution #5: Limit your screen time
Excessive screen time is a problem for many of us, whether we’re looking at our smartphones, computer or tablet screens.
Following the 20/20/20 rule helps you limit your screen time and can protect you from computer vision syndrome, which can cause symptoms like eye strain, blurred vision, eye irritation, dryness, and redness. What’s the 20/20/20 rule? Every 20 minutes, give your eyes a 20-second break by looking at something at least 20 feet away.
Ready to cross that first resolution off your list for the year? Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.