iStock 1263307689Eye health is integral to our highest quality of life. As such, it is never too soon to start developing the habits that support optimal vision and a reduced chance of eye disease. Here, we offer a few suggestions to get you started. 

Vitamins for the Eyes

Vitamins aren’t just good for general health and immunity. Research shows that specific vitamins and antioxidants can offer unique benefits for the eyes. 

  • Vitamin A, found in cheese, leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, and oily fish, can help support corneal health.
  • Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, peppers, and broccoli, decreases our risk of developing cataracts. 
  • Vitamin E, found in avocado, seeds, and nuts, helps slow the damage caused by age-related macular degeneration. 
  • Lutein, a carotenoid related to vitamin A and beta-carotene, can help reduce the oxidative retina damage that may stem from exposure to blue light. Sources of lutein include spinach, kale, and other leafy greens. 

Avoid Smoking

Decades of research have proven that smoking can significantly increase our risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and periodontal disease, among other health concerns. Most people do not realize that smoking is a significant contributing factor to potentially-serious eye diseases, too. People who smoke are twice as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration. Their risk for cataracts is three times that of non-smokers. Smokers also have higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and dry eye syndrome.

Exercise is for the Eyes

We often think of exercise as beneficial for weight management and general health. However, because regular cardiovascular exercise like walking, running, dancing, and other activities increases circulation, it is also good for the eyes. The link is that many eye diseases occur in patients with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Exercise and good circulation promote the oxygenation of all tissues, including the retina and optic nerve, which are integral to good vision.

Sunglasses for Eye Health

The eyes can absorb extraordinary amounts of harmful ultraviolet rays if we do not wear good sunglasses. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB light. If you already have risks for conditions like cataracts and glaucoma already, it is recommended that you wear sunglasses and a hat when you go outdoors. 

From taking your vitamins to wearing sunglasses to avoiding too much screen time, there are many steps you can take to promote lifelong eye health. To find out where you stand at this time, schedule a comprehensive eye exam. We would love to see you at our Winchester, VA ophthalmology office. Contact us at 540-722-6200 today. 

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