Your eyes are an important part of your health. Most people rely on their eyes to see and make sense of the world around them. But some eye diseases can lead to vision loss, so it is important to identify and treat eye diseases as early as possible. You should get your eyes checked as often as your health care provider recommends it, or if you have any new vision problems. And just as it is important to keep your body healthy, you also need to keep your eyes healthy.
Eye Tests and Exams:
Everyone needs to have their eyesight tested to check for vision and eye problems. Children usually have vision screening in school or at their health care provider's office during a checkup. Adults may also get vision screenings during their checkups. But many adults need more than a vision screening. They need a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Getting comprehensive dilated eye exams is especially important because some eye diseases may not have warning signs. The exams are the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages, when they are easier to treat.
The exam includes several tests:
- A visual field test to measure your side (peripheral) vision. A loss of peripheral vision may be a sign of glaucoma.
- A visual acuity test, where you read an eye chart about 20 feet away, to check on how well you see at various distances
- Tonometry, which measures your eye's interior pressure. It helps to detect glaucoma.
- Dilation, which involves getting eye drops that dilate (widen) your pupils. This allows more light to enter the eye. Your eye care provider examines your eyes using a special magnifying lens. This provides a clear view of important tissues at the back of your eye, including the retina, macula, and optic nerve.
If you have a refractive error and are going to need glasses or contacts, then you will also have a refraction test. When you have this test, you look through a device that has lenses of different strengths to help your eye care professional figure out which lenses will give you the clearest vision.
How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy?
Take these easy steps to keep your peepers healthy.
1. Eat Well
Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. To get them, fill your plate with:
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collards
Salmon, tuna and other oily fish
Eggs, nuts, beans and other nonmeat protein sources
Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
Oysters and pork
2. Quit Smoking
It makes you more likely to get cataracts, damage to your optic nerve, and macular degeneration, among many other medical problems. If you've tried to kick the habit before only to start again, keep at it. The more times you try to quit, the more likely you are to succeed. Ask your doctor for help.
3. Wear Sunglasses
The right pair of shades will help protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure boosts your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration. Choose a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare while you drive.
4. Use Safety Eyewear
If you use hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles.
5. Look Away From the Computer Screen
Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back and shoulder pain