Mercy Eye Center
Tips for Eye Health
There are simple steps you can take now to protect your eyes and ensure your best eye health. Follow these tips as part of your overall personal health plan:
- Get a regular eye exam. Getting an annual comprehensive eye examination is the only way you can be sure that you have healthy eyes. Many common eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease often have no warning signs. The only way to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment is by having a dilated eye examination.
- Wear protective eyewear. If you’re playing sports or doing projects at home or work that could endanger your eyes, cover them up with safety glasses, eye guards or goggles.
- Eat right. Carrots aren’t the only food proven to promote eye health. Foods rich in antioxidants including lutein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and E can reduce the risk of developing eye conditions. Regularly eat dark, leafy green vegetables including spinach, kale and collard greens as well nuts, berries and cold-water fish like salmon, tuna and halibut to maintain good eye health.
- Quit smoking. Smoking has been proven to increase the risk of developing a wide range of eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration, optic nerve damage and cataracts. Sign up for one of our smoking cessation classes.
- Clean contact lenses carefully. Reduce the risk of eye infection by washing your hands before putting your contact lenses in (or taking them out) and disinfect lenses as instructed. Do not wear lenses longer than prescribed.
- Clean your contact lens case. It doesn’t matter if you’re carefully disinfecting your contact lenses if you’re putting them back into a dirty case. Wash your case regularly to eliminate bacteria and replace every few months.
- Screen out the strain. Working at a computer for an extended period can put serious strain on your eyes. Over time eye strain can lead to nearsightedness, macular degeneration and cataracts. Reduce the strain by affixing an anti-glare screen to your monitor and positioning lights in a way that reduces the glare. Take frequent breaks to rest your eyes, use a larger font or even a bigger monitor to better see the screen without strain. If your children regularly use the computer or play video games make sure they take frequent breaks as well.
- Cover up outdoors. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can cause cataracts, abnormal non-cancerous eye growths, skin cancer around the eyelids and other eye disorders. Reduce the damage that UV rays can do to your eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat outdoors and wrap-around or large-rimmed sunglasses that are labeled to protect against UV-A and UV-B rays. Protect your eyes outdoors even when it’s not sunny – UV rays can reach your eyes by reflecting off snow, water, sand and pavement. If you wear contact lenses ask your ophthalmologist which lenses provide the best protection.
- Think twice before tanning. Tanning beds expose you to a high level of UV light. If you choose to use a tanning facility make sure you wear special protective eyewear. Simply closing your eyes or placing a cotton pad over your eyes will not provide adequate protection. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all tanning facilities provide customers with goggles it’s recommended you purchase your own to fit your eyes snugly. If you use a facility’s goggles make sure they are sterilized so that you don’t risk contracting infection from a prior customer.
- Keep an eye on your weight. Obesity increases your risk for diabetes – which can cause diabetic retinopathy - and other diseases that can lead to eye conditions including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and age-related cataracts. Talk with your physician if you are unsure about the best approach to weight loss or sign up for one of our weight management classes.