Vision is arguably the most vital of our five senses and since it is completely irreplaceable, we all need to do our very best to retain our precious piece of perception. Perhaps the first thing we think of when it comes to protecting our valuable vision is sunglasses, for both young and old, everyone in the family should have at least one pair of high-quality sunglasses that are specifically designed to block out up to 99% of the sun's harmful UV rays.
As with many of our vital organs, our good health comes from the inside out. In other words, the better we see the world around us through our eyes depends on what we put inside our bodies. We were likely told as children that eating carrots will improve our vision and although it will help us to keep our eyes healthy, it won't make us see any clearer. The fact that the beta-carotene found in this orange vegetable will help us to have better eye health but it's no match for the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, found mostly in leafy greens. Other foods good for vision include:
- Cold water fish - High in Omega 3 fatty acids that protect against dry eyes
- Whole Grains - Foods with a low glycemic index guard against macular degeneration
- Citrus Fruits - High in vitamin C that can ward off cataracts
- Beans, Peas and Lentils - Good source of bioflavonoids and zinc that protect the retina
- Nuts - Another food with a plentiful amount of Omega 3 fatty acids
Screens of all sizes
Another thing we were told as children was to not sit to close to the television because it would ruin our eyesight. Again, although too much screen time can cause problems, it makes little difference the proximity of the screen to our faces. With all of today's technology, screens come in all shapes and sizes. Many of them handheld and people, both young and old, may be spending too much time staring at them. This can cause issues such as blurry vision, trouble focusing on distance, eyestrain and dry eyes.
Parents need to find a way to come up with an agreement with their children to decide how much screen time is appropriate. It's no longer about too much TV time. There's also smartphones, game stations, tablets, notebooks and computers. Staring at high-contrast electronic screens can also cause tension headaches, shoulder neck and back pain. Use the 20-20-20 rule, where every twenty minutes, you should look away from the screen for twenty seconds, at something twenty feet away. This causes the eyes to refocus and can cause us to blink more often.
Regular Check Ups
Whether you wear prescription lenses or not, people of all ages should have their eyes checked regularly. For adults and seniors, eye examinations can detect some diseases that don't show any symptoms like glaucoma. Children should have their vision checked as an infant, again before they enter school and every two years (every year if they have a prescription) to detect any possible issues that could harm their educational development.
Protecting our valuable vision is important at any age, from toddlers to teenagers, adults to grandparents, maintaining good eyesight is vital. So watch your diet, cut down on screen time and visit your optometrist regularly for the best eyesight for your entire family.