According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 37 million Americans suffer from age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. All of these have the potential to cause vision loss or even blindness. However, studies have shown that by developing positive, healthy habits you can protect your eyes and preserve the long-term health of your vision.

May is Healthy Vision Month and to celebrate, Riverside Eye Center is encouraging you to take charge of your health and your vision. Here are the five habits of people who have healthy eyes:

  1.     Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Did you know that the foods you eat can either help or hurt your eyesight? Eating meals that are rich in nutrients like omega- fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin C can help protect you from age-related vision problems. Foods like green leafy vegetables, non-meat protein sources, and citrus fruits are always good choices.

A balanced diet will also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your chances of diseases like diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.

  1.     Don’t smoke

There are many reasons to avoid smoking but did you know that the toxins found in cigarettes are very harmful to your eyes as well as your lungs? Smoking increases your likelihood of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. However, quitting smoking at any age can massively improve your health and your vision.

  1.     Wear UV protectant sunglasses

You should be just as careful to protect your eyes from the sun as you are to protect your skin. When your eyes are exposed to the sun’s UV rays it increases you odds of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

To protect your eyes, find sunglasses that block 99 percent of the sun’s UV rays. And wearing a wide-brimmed hat can help protect your eyes as well.

  1.     Take good care of your contacts

Many people seriously neglect their contacts which can be very bad for your eyes. One of the most common problems we see is that people wear their contacts for far too long. Your contacts should be taken out every night, cleaned, and disinfected. Don’t make the mistake of sleeping in your contacts for weeks at a time! And contact cases can quickly accumulate bacteria so make sure you regularly clean and change out your contact case.

  1.     Schedule yearly comprehensive eye exams

One of the best healthy eye habits you can develop is to schedule a yearly comprehensive vision exam. Your doctor will be able to tell if you have developed common eye diseases like glaucoma, which are symptom-free in the early stages. Contact us today for more information and to schedule an appointment with one of our Auburn, ME eye doctors.