March has been established by the American Optometric Association as National “Save Your Vision” Month – and we think that it’s incredibly important to spread awareness of this event, and the importance of healthy vision.
It’s surprising how many people neglect their eye health – continuing to use outdated prescriptions, avoiding visits to the optometrist, maintaining bad contact lens usage habits, and so on – especially when you think about how crucial good vision is to everyday life.
One reason could be that your eyes don’t generally hurt, even when they’re in need of care, unlike toothaches and other bodily pains. But make no mistake – your eyes need you to take care of them. Here are 5 ways that you can do so.
- Visit The Eye Doctor ASAP
You wouldn’t ignore your yearly checkup at your general physician – okay, maybe most nurses would – but you shouldn’t!
The same goes for your eye doctor. You can’t fix problems that you don’t know that you have. The first step towards healthier eyes is understanding the state of your eyes – whether you have myopia, astigmatism, or other visual difficulties.
If your eyes are otherwise healthy and you don’t have glasses or wear contact lenses, visiting your eye doctor every two years is acceptable. If you do wear corrective lenses, you should be making a visit every year.
- Get Your Prescription Updated
Your eyes won’t actually suffer further damage if you are wearing an outdated prescription – that’s an old wive’s tale.
However, wearing old glasses that are outdated for your current needs can cause significant eye strain – the focusing muscles in your eyes will have to work much harder to see clearly – and this can lead to tired eyes, difficulty focusing, and blurred vision. These effects are not permanent, but can be very distracting, or even dangerous if you’re performing a delicate task on a patient, driving, or operating heavy machinery.
- Wear Sunglasses Whenever You Can!
The sun is extremely damaging to our eyes – the same ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburns can enter directly into our optical nerves, boosting your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. There’s a reason that you’re not supposed to stare at the sun – so when you go out during sunny days, try to wear sunglasses whenever you can.
If you don’t wear contact lenses and you don’t want to purchase prescription sunglasses, consider investing in a pair of transitional lenses – these lenses react to UV light and darken automatically, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting your sunglasses.
- Use The Computer – Wisely
Again, using the computer has not been shown to actually damage your eyes – but the short-term effects of focusing on a computer can cause blurry vision, eyestrain, trouble focusing at a distance, dry eyes, and headaches, among other issues.
The best way to prevent this is by following the AOA’s “20/20/20 rule”. Take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to focus on an object at least 20 feet away. Doing so allows you to “reset” your eyes, and helps you refocus and keep them from being strained.
In addition, to prevent neck problems, you should try to use computer that is at about eye level, so that your eyes are looking slightly down most of the time, and your neck is even. This ergonomic position helps prevent neck strain.
- Stay Healthy, And Eat For Your Eyes!
Good eye health starts with great eye nutrition. You should eat for your eyes! Eating a diet heavy in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, lutein, and vitamins E and C have been shown to help prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, and other old-age vision programs.
Also, staying at a healthy weight helps you avoid issues like obesity and diabetes, and diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
Finally, you should stop smoking. Smokers are at risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, and smoking can cause serious damage to your optic nerve over time. Smoking also increases your risk of developing diabetes, which can further damage your eyes.
Save Your Vision – Follow Our 5 Tips For Healthier Eyes!
We know that nurses don’t always prioritize their own health – they prioritize that of their patients.
But you should put yourself first when it matters, and your eyes are extremely important, and taking great care of your eyes while you’re young can prevent diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, and blindness from occurring in your old age.
So this year, during National Save Your Vision Month, save your vision – and do what’s best for your eyes.