Eyesight

6 Ways to Protect Your Eyes and Maintain Good Vision

Sara Suchy Dec 9, 2011 (updated Dec 16, 2014)
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Regular eye checkups from an ophthalmologist or optometrist are important. They should be done once a year if you are over age 65. Your doctor will recommend earlier and more frequent exams if you have diabetes or if you are already showing early signs of eye problems from diabetes, high blood pressure, or other causes. These important steps can help prevent eye and vision problems:

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Wear protective sunglasses
Wear protective sunglasses
You want to protect your eyes from the sun much like you would protect your skin from the sun with SPF and UV protection.  The sun's damaging rays can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration over time if they aren't protected with sunglasses.  This is because UV bands of light from the sun penetrate the retina leading to eye damage.
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Don't smoke
Don
You may be familiar with the damage smoking does to internal organs.  However, there is also a direct link between smoking and and eye problems.  If you are a smoker you are increasing your risk of developing a number of eye diseases including: cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome, optic nerve damage, and even diabetic retinotherapy. 
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Limit alcohol consumption
Limit alcohol consumption
If you are engaging in the occasional glass of wine or cocktail you are most likely not harming your eyes, but excessive drinking for extended periods of time could lead to eye damage. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to degeneration of the optic nerve, which can result in vision reduction, blind spots, and reduced color visibility. Short-term alcohol consumption can trigger migraines, which cause some people to experience flashing lights.  
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Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control
Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control
Untreated high blood pressure (hypertension) can affect eyesight and even lead to hypertensive retinotherapy. Hypertensive retinotherapy is directly caused by having high blood pressure, making it highly preventable.  It is also important to maintain healthy cholesterol levels as high cholesterol can lead to circumferential arcus and retinal vein occlusion.  
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If diabetic - keep blood sugars under control
If diabetic - keep blood sugars under control
Prolonged inadequate blood glucose monitoring can cause diabetic retinotherapy.  Diabetic retinotherapy is a result of damage to the innermost layer of the eye, the retina.  Other eye complications related to diabetes include: blindness, corneal erosion, cataracts, double vision, and bleeding.  
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Eat foods rich in antioxidants
Eat foods rich in antioxidants
Eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collards are exceptionally good for not only eye health but overall wellness.  Antioxidants are vitamins that protect and repair cells from damage such as infection thus keeping your immune system strong.  Fruits and Vegetables that are very colorful tend to pack the most antioxidants.