As modern neuroscientists provide the world with more insight into how our brains process visual information, sometimes it just takes a few basic lifestyle changes to improve your own eye health. Family HealthCare Associates is celebrating “Healthy Vision Month” by showing our patients a few simple tips that will maintain your healthy eyesight and improve your overall health. Why is eye health so important? Your eyesight is one of your most important senses:  Eighty percent of what you perceive in life comes through your sense of sight. Not only that, but did you know that people who have poor vision are more likely to have a host of other health issues?  

It is true, so put on your reading glasses (if necessary) and check out these habits anyone can adopt to improve your vision and help avoid other health issues that affect your ocular tissues like diabetes, stroke, arterial hypertension, and thyroid disorders.   

Six Simple Ways to Maintain Healthy Vision 

  1. What You Eat Matters: Did you know certain nutrients in food are keys to improving eyesight?  Lutein and zeaxanthin, found in leafy greens like broccoli, zucchini, as well as eggs?  Carotenoids can help prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration by improving pigment density and absorbing ultraviolent and blue light.  Mix in a healthy dose of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tuna, trout, or halibut. 
  1. Get Off the Sofa and Move: Being physically active lowers your risk of getting a host of health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, that can lead to vision problems.  Too much sugar in your bloodstream can lead to a condition called “diabetic retinopathy,” which causes the small arteries in your retina to leak blood and fluid into the eye, which harms your vision. Regular exercise can help you avoid all these health issues. 
  1. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Not only does smoking lead to lung cancer and heart disease, but it also increases your risk of getting several eye diseases, like macular degeneration and cataracts. So, kick the habit today. 
  1. You Gotta Wear Shades: Sunglasses should be an essential accessory in any Texan’s wardrobe, even on cloudy or overcast days. Be sure to buy sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB radiation from your eyes. 
  1. Give Your Eye a Rest: Staring at screens all day long is not natural, so digital eye strain can be a big problem for our eyes. Every 20 minutes try to look away from your screens and focus your eyes twenty feet in front of you, for 20 seconds, and give your eyes a rest. 
  1. Know Your Family’s Eye Health History and Get Regular Exams: Your eyes are the windows into your body. They are the only place where your blood vessels can be viewed in their natural state without undergoing a surgical procedure.  Regular visits to your ophthalmologist are preventative maintenance for the rest of your body. Some eye conditions are hereditary and require early intervention, so regular checkups can help you catch an eye disease early.