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5 Ways to Improve Your Eye Health

Posted on February 29, 2024 in Vision Health

A close up of the face of an older adult, including the eyes and nose.

You rely on your eyes to see and experience the world. If you don't take care of them, poor eye health can lead to disease, damage, and blindness. 

Let's explore five ways to improve your eye health and ensure your vision stays clear for years to come. 

Ways to improve your eye health

  1. Schedule routine eye exams

It’s important to make regular visits to your doctor or dentist for check-ups. You should also prioritize seeing your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to keep tabs on your eye health. 

If  you have 20/20 vision, eye exams do more than just monitor how well you can see; they can help detect other medical conditions and eye diseases such as glaucoma or cataracts. Many eye conditions are asymptomatic early on. Therefore, it's important to schedule annual eye exams. Doing so can help detect diseases before they worsen. 

Vision insurance promotes positive eye health and can help keep you from paying high out-of-pocket rates on procedures not covered by your medical insurance. With our DeltaVision® plans, we can help cover vision care costs to keep your eyes healthy and support your overall health. 

  1. Avoid smoking to protect against diseases

Smoking can lead to the development of two severe eye conditions: age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, both of which can lead to serious vision loss or blindness if untreated. Individuals who smoke cigarettes are two to three times more likely to develop cataracts and up to four times more likely to develop AMD than those who don’t smoke. 

  1. Focus on nutrition to maintain eye health

What you eat also plays a huge role in your eye health. A diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals can help keep good eye health and vision. Studies and observational data suggest that diets with optimal levels of vitamins C and E, lutein, and zeaxanthin can reduce cataract risk. Daily multivitamin use may also help.  

The next time you're at the grocery store, add a few of these foods to your cart:

  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Spinach, kale, broccoli, and green peas
  • Vitamin C: Oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes
  • Vitamin E: Sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, almonds, flaxseed oil
  • Essential fatty acids: Salmon, tuna, sardines
  • Zinc: Red meat, oysters, pumpkin seeds, peanuts
  • Vitamin A: Liver, egg yolk, dairy products

  1. Give your eyes a break

The average person spends seven hours a day staring at a screen. Unfortunately, by using your eyes for such high visual demands, individuals are becoming susceptible to  digital eye strain known as computer vision syndrome. Your eyes work extra hard to make out words and images on the screen. This added strain can lead to long-lasting effects on your eye health, like eye fatigue, dry and irritated eyes, loss of focus flexibility, nearsightedness, and retinal damage. 

To help reduce digital eye strain and improve eye health, the American Optometric Association recommends the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away.     

  1. Protect your eyes from damage

If you work in the labor industry, especially in jobs like construction, you may be prone to eye injuries from dust, penetration, heat, radiation, and various chemicals. Therefore, it's important to follow certain precautions when on-site to protect your eyes from damage: 

  1. Wear the correct gear (goggles, safety glasses, or other eye protection)
  2. Restrict access to worksites during times when accidents are more likely to happen
  3. Undergo proper training

UV radiation from the sun is also to blame for the development of severe eye conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal sunburn, or even conjunctival cancers

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your eyes healthy while still enjoying the outdoors: 

  1. Wear sunglasses (even on cloudy days)
  2. Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB light
  3. Wear a hat with at least a three-inch brim
  4. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher around your eyes

Learn more about how Delta Dental’s vision benefits can support your eye health.