2. Get Regular Eye Exams to Catch Vision Problems Early
Regular eye exams are the only way to catch a variety of vision problems, including diseases such as glaucoma, which has no symptoms in its early stages but is a leading cause of blindness for people older than 60, according to theAAO.
AMD, a leading cause of vision loss in people over 50, can also begin without any symptoms in the earliest stages, but can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam, per theAAO.
The AAO recommendsgetting complete eye exams on the following schedule:
- Once in your twenties
- Twice in your thirties
- Again at age 40, when early signs of disease or vision changes may occur
- Every year or two if you are 65 or older
Some people may need to see their eye doctor more frequently. If you wear contact lenses, you should see your ophthalmologist once a year, per the AAO. If you have diabetes or a family history of eye disease, especially glaucoma, the AAO recommends talking to your doctor about how frequently you should get your eyes checked.
3. Stop Smoking Now to Prevent Eye Problems Later
“Get off tobacco in any form,” Taylor says.
Smoking is as harmful to your eyes as it is to the rest of your body, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Smoking can lead to serious eye conditions that can cause vision loss or blindness, including AMD and cataracts.
If you smoke, you are twice as likely to develop AMD as people who don’t smoke, per the CDC. AMD affects central vision, which you need to see objects clearly and for day-to-day tasks such as reading, recognizing faces, and driving.
If you smoke, you are also two to three times more likely to develop cataracts than people who don’t smoke. Cataracts cause blurry vision that gets worse over time and can lead to serious vision loss.
Quitting smoking may lower your risk for both AMD and cataracts, and if you already have AMD, quitting may slow the progression of the disease.
4. Protect Your Eyes From the Sun
UV radiation (both UVA and UVB) from the sun and tanning beds produces DNA changes that can lead to skin cancers on the eyelids as well as premature aging of the skin around your eyes, according to theSkin Cancer Foundation.
UV radiation can cause other serious eye conditions, including:
CataractsCataracts cloud and yellow the lens of your eye, causing vision loss that gets worse over time. At least 10 percent of cataract cases are due to UV exposure, per the Skin Cancer Foundation.
AMDAMD is caused by UV damage to the central portion of the retina.
Conjunctival cancersThese eye cancers are more common than they used to be.
To protect your eyes from the sun, sunglasses are a must, according to Taylor. This applies whenever you are out in the sun, all year long. But don’t be fooled into thinking the darker, the better. “It’s the sticker you peel off of the glasses when you buy them” that matters, she says. Sunglasses should have complete, 99 to 100 percent protection from UVA and UVB (long and short wave) rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
You should also wear a hat with at least a three-inch brim and tightly woven fabric, as well as a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
5. Try the 20-20-20 Rule to Avoid Dry Eye
When your eyes do not make enough tears or the right type of tears or tear film, it is known as dry eye. Paradoxically, one of the most common symptoms of dry eye is an eye with lots of tears in it, according to theAAO, because your eyes make more tears when they are irritated by dry eye. Dry eye can also cause stinging, burning, redness, irritation, and pain, and can affect your vision.
Per the AAO, causes of dry eye include:
- Aging or hormonal changes. Dry eye is especially common in women after menopause.
- Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, thyroid disease, and lupus
- Blepharitis (when eyelids are red or swollen)
- Entropion (when eyelids turn in); ectropion (when eyelids turn out)
- Being in a smoky, windy, or very dry climate
- Long-term use of contact lenses
- Refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK
- Certain medications
- Working on a computer all day can give you dry eye, as can extended reading. This is in part because when we do things up close, we don’t blink as much, Taylor says.
To prevent dry eye, the AAO recommends the following tips:
- Avoid using a hair dryer
- Steer clear of very warm rooms. Add moisture to the air with a humidifier during the winter months.
- Wear wraparound glasses when you are outside in dry winds.
For dry eye caused by computer use, try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away for 20 seconds at something that is at least 20 feet away, per the American Optometric Association.
A warm compress on the eyes is a simple home remedy for dry eye, notes the AAO, as are artificial tears. If these treatments aren’t effective, your doctor may prescribe a prescription eye-drop medication.
6. Prevent Diabetes if Possible
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults, according to theCDC. This common eye disease occurs when high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina, which can stop blood flow and lead to blurry vision.
If you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, you can get diabetic retinopathy, and the longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop eye problems, says the CDC.
You may not notice symptoms in the early stage of diabetic retinopathy, but a routine eye exam can catch it early when treatment is most effective. Prompt treatment can repair eye damage and prevent blindness in most people.
Tips for reducing vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy include:
- Keep your blood sugar levels in your target range.
- Manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Quit smoking to lower your risk of diabetes-related eye diseases.
- Be physically active, which helps manage diabetes.
7. Avoid Saturated Fats to Prevent AMD
AMD occurs when part of the retina called the macula is damaged, causing you to lose your central vision, according to theAAO.
There are two types of AMD:
Dry AMDAbout 80 percent of people who have AMD have the dry form of the disease. Dry AMD occurs when parts of the macula get thinner with age. Currently, there is no treatment for dry AMD.
Wet AMDWet AMD is less common, but far more serious. Wet AMD occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina, which may leak blood or other fluids, scarring the macula.
Most people don’t realize they have AMD until they experience very blurry vision, so it’s important to see your doctor for routine eye exams to catch any early signs before vision problems develop.
Other ways to prevent AMD include:
Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fat. People who eat a lot of saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese) are at greater risk for AMD.
Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. People who are overweight are more likely to develop AMD.
Quit smoking. Smoking is a risk factor for AMD.
Stay healthy. Talk to your doctor about how to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol levels.
8. Get a Complete Eye Exam for Glaucoma, Including an Eye Pressure Test
Because glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages, half the people who have this common disease do not know they have it, according to the AAO. Glaucoma is so insidious that it is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight.”
The only way to find out you have glaucoma before you lose your vision is to have regular eye exams, including checking your eye pressure. Blindness can often be prevented with early treatment.
Glaucoma usually occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye, increasing the pressure in your eye and damaging the optic nerve, per the AAO.
There are two main types of glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucomaIn open-angle glaucoma (the most common type), the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should. As a result, eye pressure builds and gradually starts to damage the optic nerve. While there are no early signs and symptoms, blind spots develop in your peripheral (side) vision as the disease progresses.
Angle-closure glaucoma (also called “closed-angle glaucoma” or “narrow-angle glaucoma”) Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when your iris is very close to the drainage angle in your eye. In this scenario, the iris can end up blocking the drainage angle. When the drainage angle becomes totally blocked, eye pressure rises very quickly, causing what’s known as an acute attack.
Signs of an acute attack include:
- Sudden blurry vision
- Severe eye pain
- Seeing rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights
If you have symptoms of an acute attack, go to the emergency room or you might go blind.
9. Pay Attention to Your Overall Health
As the old saying goes, the eyes are the windows to the soul, but Taylor says they can also act as an indicator of a person’s overall health. If a patient comes into her office with dry eyes, she asks other health questions, since dry eyes can be a marker of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or thyroid disease.
Patients who have blurry vision could have diabetes or a tumor, or may have had a stroke. People with itchy red eyes may have a contact lens allergy that they're unaware of. Taylor also recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis in a patient who had unusual eye movements.
Pay attention to your vision as well as your overall health so you can catch problems early and protect your eyesight.
Orange-colored fruits and vegetables -- like sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, mangos, and apricots -- are high in beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that helps with night vision, your eyes' ability to adjust to darkness.How do you deal with losing your vision? ›
- Vision loss is a difficult condition, but fortunately there are many low vision aids that can help you manage day to day. ...
- Learn More About Your Vision Loss. ...
- Seek Therapeutic Counseling for Vision Loss. ...
- Grieving the Loss of Vision. ...
- Explore Adjustment Classes and Devices for Vision Loss.
Orange-colored fruits and vegetables -- like sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, mangos, and apricots -- are high in beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that helps with night vision, your eyes' ability to adjust to darkness.What are 4 things that protect the eye? ›
The orbit, eyelashes, eyelids, conjunctiva, and lacrimal glands help protect the eyes.How can I protect my eyes naturally? ›
- Eat right to protect your sight. Keep your eyes healthy by eating a well-balanced diet. ...
- Get moving. ...
- Speak up if your vision changes. ...
- Wear your glasses. ...
- Keep the germs away. ...
- Gear up. ...
- Wear your shades. ...
- Give your eyes a break.
The truth is that many types of vision loss are permanent. Once the eye has been damaged, then treatment options are limited to restore vision. But some types of vision loss could be improved naturally, and you can also take a proactive approach in protecting your eyes to prevent vision loss in the future.What causes vision to get worse? ›
Lifestyle factors. A bad diet, smoking or excessive alcohol consumption may all affect your vision. Having overall good health can prevent your eyesight from getting worse sooner than it might. A healthy, balanced diet is key, as vitamins C and E, as well as omega-3, can all contribute to healthy vision.What can cause you to lose your vision? ›
The leading causes of blindness and low vision in the United States are primarily age-related eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.Which vegetable is best for eyes? ›
- Leafy Green Vegetables. Spinach, kale and broccoli are leafy green vegetables rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin. ...
- Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes and butternut squash are good sources of beta-carotene, potassium and fibre. ...
- Bell Peppers. ...
- Avocados. ...
Eggs are a great food to eat for eye health. The yolks contain vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, which are all vital to eye health. Vitamin A safeguards the cornea.
Growing scientific evidence suggests that aerobic exercise can increase crucial oxygen supplies to the optic nerve and lower pressure in the eye. Reducing intraocular 'eye' pressure can help control conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
- The 20-20-20 rule. When you're focused on a task, pause every 20 minutes to focus on something that's 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Blink break. You blink less when you're focused on a TV or computer screen. ...
- Palms for relaxation. ...
- Figure eight. ...
- Roll your eyes. ...
- Near and far.
Bananas. Potassium is also great for eye health, particularly for dry eyes, as it is one of the important components that make up the tear film and help to maintain film thickness. Bananas are also a source of vitamin A which is also crucial for eye health.How can I make my vision 20 20 again? ›
- #1: Wear your contact lenses or eyeglasses as prescribed. If you have a refractive error or another vision issue, your eye doctor will often prescribe corrective lenses. ...
- #2: Consume a healthy, balanced diet full of antioxidants. ...
- #3: Schedule an annual eye exam.
- Cold Water Therapy: This easy to do therapy is appreciated by millions as anyone can do it without any reluctance. ...
- Eye Massage & Exercise: ...
- Best Foods For Your Eyes: ...
- Quit Smoking: ...
- Get Sufficient Sleep At Night: ...
- Make Best Use of Eyeglasses: ...
- Visit Your Eye Specialist:
Can Eyesight Be Improved Naturally? Unfortunately, eyesight cannot be improved naturally and there is no way to change a refractive error, such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia. These types of visual conditions can be treated with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.