The foods you eat and the dietary supplements you take affect your overall health and the health of your eyes. Nutrition and your eyes are linked together and can help prevent certain eye diseases along with other health problems.
Choosing healthy foods improves your overall health as well as your eye health. Dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. These fruits and vegetables may also help to reduce the risks of developing eye diseases. Sugars and white flours may increase your risk of age-related eye disease, instead, opt for whole grains which do not have the same risks. Healthy fats containing omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical to your diet. These healthy fats can help prevent dry eyes and cataracts.
Staying hydrated is essential to the health of your eyes. Drink plenty of water every day! We also recommend choosing healthy beverages and avoiding high sugar beverages. Proper hydration is linked to the reduction of dry eye symptoms.
Nutrients are an essential part of a healthy diet. These nutrients can be found in foods but can also be taken in supplements to ensure you are receiving the proper amount in your diet. Consult with your primary care provider before taking any dietary supplements. Here are a few nutrients that may have a link to eye health:
- Vitamin A: may protect against night blindness and dry eyes
- Omega 3 fatty acids: may prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes
- Vitamin C: may reduce risks of cataracts and macular degeneration
- Vitamin D: may reduce risks of macular degeneration
- Zinc: may reduce risks of night blindness
- Vitamin E: may reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration
As you age, it is essential to consider all factors that could affect the overall health of your eyes. Not only should you adopt a healthy diet, but you can also do several other things to protect your eyes. One way to protect your eyes is to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which includes wearing sunglasses outdoors and staying away from tanning beds. Now is the time to quit smoking, not only is smoking harmful to your overall health it also increased your risks for many eye diseases. Finally, ensure that you are getting annual eye exams to detect any eye diseases before they cause permanent vision loss.
Nutrition and your eyes are highly connected, continue to find ways to feed your body the food and nutrients it needs to live a healthy life with healthy eyes.
Do you experience dry, itchy, or burning eyes? You may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. Tears are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision, when there is insufficient moisture on the surface of the eye it can cause discomfort. Let’s looks at some common concerns about dry eye, symptoms, and risk factors.
What causes dry eye?
Tears keep the eyes surfaces moist and wash away dust, debris, and other microorganisms. Without constant, adequate moisture, dry eye will occur. Not enough oil in the tears, causes tears to evaporate too quickly, and without sufficient water production, eyes cannot maintain proper moisture.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome:
- Scratchy or gritty feeling
- Red eyes
- Irritation from windy conditions
- Sensitivity to light
- Fatigued eyes
- Problems with contacts
- Excessive tearing
- Heavy eyes
- Sore eyes
Contact lenses and dry eyes
One of the most common complaints from contact lens wearers is their contacts make their eyes feel dry. If you experience dry eye symptoms while wearing your contacts or immediately after removing your contacts, talk with your doctor, as it is irregular to feel discomfort.
If discomfort occurs, it is possible you are using the incorrect solution with your contact lenses; not all solutions are made equally. Your doctor may also recommend you use eye drops to help temporarily relieve dry eye symptoms.
Another means to relieve symptoms is to change your contact lens type to a more breathable or moisture-focused lens, which is specially made to help retain moisture. You may also want to discuss with your doctor the option to switch from reusable contact lenses to single-use lenses. Single use lenses will help prevent your lens from drying out and work to maintain moisture in your eyes.
Factors that Increase Risk of Dry Eye
Dry eye symptoms stem from multiple risk factors, including health conditions, environments, and eyewear choice. If you are suffering from dry eye try some of the tips below to helps reduce your symptoms.
- Computer use. Humans blink less frequently when working at computers, allowing for more evaporated tears. When working on a computer for an extended period of time, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a rest.
- Contact lens. Dry eye discomfort is a primary reason for wearers to stop using contacts. Use rewetting drops daily or talk with your doctor about contact lens types that work best for your eyes.
- Indoor environment. Air conditioning, fans, and air heating systems can decrease the humidity indoors and cause symptoms of dry eye. Try using a humidifier in your house if you notice the air getting dryer.
- Outdoor environment. If you are outdoors in dry or windy conditions, wear a pair of sunglasses or hat to reduce your exposure to the elements which can cause dry eyes.
- Smoking causes eyes to dry overtime and is the route of various other eye problems.
- Aging. Dry eye syndrome is more common after the age of 50.
- Menopause. Women who have completed menopause are at a greater risk for dry eye than men the same age.
- Health conditions. Certain diseases have a higher risk of contributing to dry eye- such as diabetes or thyroid diseases.
- Medications. Prescription and nonprescription medications can have dry eye as a side effect.
If eye care professionals cringe when they see you clean your glasses, and your lenses don’t last long before they are scratched, then it’s probably time to update your eyeglass cleaning habits!
To make sure your lenses stay clear and crisp as long as possible, follow these lens cleaning instructions.
1. First, wash your hands and dry them thoroughly. Don’t use a soap that contains lotion. Regular hand soap or dish soap are preferred. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
2. Rinse your glasses under the water. Use lukewarm tap water with a gentle stream. Avoid using water that is too hot.
3. Put one drop of dish soap on each lens, or drop some on your fingers and apply it to the lens this way. It doesn’t take much, but remember not to use a soap with lotion.
4. Gently rub the front and back of the lens, as well as rubbing lightly along the frame. Be sure to wash along the frame components like nosepads and hinges. Dust and oil can accumulate around the lens, so clean these areas thoroughly.
5. Rinse the glasses with lukewarm water inside and out.
6. Carefully shake or tap the glasses to remove excess water.
7. Use a clean, lint-free towel to dry your lenses and frames. A cotton towel is preferred, but most dish towels are fine as long as they have been washed without substances that can smear your lenses, like fabric softener or dryer sheets. Make sure it is a fresh, clean towel!
8. Check to see that your eyewear is free from smears and smudges. Keep a microfiber cloth on hand to clean any minor residue you may encounter.
Even when using eyeglass cleaning products, it’s important to inspect your lenses and follow instructions. If you like to clean your glasses without a faucet, there are several cleaning sprays available in drugstores or at our practice. Before using a cleaning wipe, make sure to blow any debris off of your lenses to prevent scratching.
The best way to avoid not only scratching your glasses, but also having to clean them frequently is by getting an anti-reflective (AR) treatment done on your lenses. The best AR treatments prevent scratching, reduce glares, and even resist dust, dirt, and oil.
Talk to us if you have any questions about proper care for your glasses!