March is National Save your Vision Month. Here at Chu Vision Institute, we prioritize educating people about their eyes and eye health, so let’s look at a few ways you can protect your most precious sense: your vision!
- Wear Sunglasses Outdoors
Sunglasses don’t just look cool; they protect your eyes from bright light and harmful UV rays! UV light from the sun can be dangerous to your eye health, because just like your skin can get sun damage, so can your eyes. Eyes sunburn, too! You have probably been told in the past to not stare directly at the Sun, and this is sound advice. Staring at the Sun for too long can cause permanent damage to your retina and even lead to blindness. You should wear sunglasses in the winter, too, since sunrays can reflect off the snow and into your eyes.
- Wear Safety Goggles
If you work with harmful chemicals, it is important to protect your eyes. The eyes are very sensitive and require the right conditions to operate correctly. Chemicals splashed on the eyes can cause permanent damage.
You should also wear safety goggles if you work in construction or have a project with potentially flying debris, such as saw dust or dry wall dust. These particles can get into your eyes and scratch your cornea, which can cause pain, redness, light sensitivity, and possible infection.
If you do get something in your eyes, rinse your eyes with clean water and get to an eye doctor as soon as possible.
- Take Out Contacts After 8 Hours
Contacts are a great temporary solution to fixing poor vision when you don’t want to wear glasses. However, they are known to dry out the eyes. Dry eyes are unhappy eyes – dryness symptoms include itchiness, a gritty sensation, and blurred vision. Contact lens use is also associated with a higher rate of infection in the eye. Always follow your doctor’s instructions and try to take out your contacts around the 8-hour mark. And never sleep in them!
If you want to never wear contacts again, consider getting LASIK!
- Eat Leafy Greens and Omega-3s
Dark leafy green vegetables are full of amazing vitamins and minerals that your eyes need to keep functioning their best. For example, spinach, Kale, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli are excellent sources of antioxidants and vitamin A which can help prevent macular degeneration (a deterioration of the retina) and early cataracts.
Certain fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, are also amazing for your eye health and may be able to lower the incidence of certain conditions like macular degeneration and glaucoma. Omega-3s promote retina health and prevent dry eyes.
- Quit Smoking
Smoking causes harm to your entire body. Smokers are at an increased risk of early cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Quitting may protect your vision as well as your lungs, teeth, gums, and skin. Even vaping can have harmful effects on the eyes.
- Visit Your Eye Doctor Yearly
Even if you do all of the above, visiting your eye doctor every year is important to screen for different eye conditions. Many eye diseases
have no visual symptoms in the early stages. Finding conditions like macular degeneration or glaucoma early means a higher likelihood of saving your eyes from damage and vision loss. Not to mention if your glasses prescription has changed and you didn’t realize it, you can get that updated and see clearly again.
Your optometrist can also recommend a LASIK or cataract surgeon (Like Dr. Chu at Chu Vision Institute!) if you are looking for a more permanent vision correction solution.
There are many ways to protect your eyes from potential harm. If you do experience eye injury or sudden changes in your vision, be sure to see your eye doctor right away. Protect your precious sense of sight!