How To Preserve Your Eyesight
Our eyesight is one of those things that we take for granted until it starts to elude us. It’s unfortunate too, since many eye diseases and injuries can be prevented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 11 million Americans aged 12 and older could improve their vision with proper correction. Furthermore, more than 3.3 million Americans over the age of 40 are either legally blind or living with low vision. The leading causes of eye problems in the United States are macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. But our eyesight also suffers from the damage we do every single day, which we can actively work to prevent. Whether you’re in a profession more physical in nature or one that is office-centered, taking the proper precautions can help you preserve your eyesight well into old age.
At The Office
A staggering 60 million workers in the United States have professional and office jobs, according to a census from 2000, and that number keeps rising. Considering all of the time we spend in front of a screen, it’s no wonder it’s taken a toll on our eyesight. The most common condition to arise from this trend is computer vision syndrome, which results in headaches, eye fatigue, neck and shoulder pain, and difficulty focusing. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, here are a few things you can do:
- Adjust your screen. It should be four to five inches below eye level from the center of the screen.
- Avoid glare. Position your screen to avoid glares that result from overhead lighting or windows. If necessary, use blinds and opt for bulbs with low wattage.
- Get screened. If you can’t adjust the light to meet your needs, a computer screen helps to decrease reflected light.
- Take breaks. After two hours of looking at the screen, get up and take a walk for 15 minutes to rest your eyes (and get the blood flowing!). It’s also smart to focus on an object in the distance every 20 minutes for about 20 seconds.
If you find that some of these initial fixes aren’t working, don’t hesitate to get your eyes checked. It may be that the prescription you have for general use is not adequate for computer work and that you require special lenses to meet the visual demands required of you each day.
On The Job
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health notes that nearly 2,000 workers each day need to seek medical treatment for eye-related injuries at the work site. Experts believe that taking the proper precautions can lessen the severity of workplace eye injuries.
Here are four things you can do to protect your eyes from injury if you work in a field with physical hazards, such as flying objects, dust, chemicals, or hazardous radiation:
Know the eye safety hazards of your work.
- Eliminate hazards before beginning your work, i.e., machine guards and work screens.
- Use proper eye protection.
- Keep safety eye wear in good condition, and replace it when it gets damaged.
It’s also important to know what to do in the event of an eye emergency. Refer to your company’s safety policies for more information.
In general, taking steps to protect and preserve your peepers is something we can all do on a regular basis, and it doesn’t take much effort. Here are a few ways you can start saving your vision today:
- Avoid cigarettes. This one is definitely easier said than done, but smoking can have a very negative impact on our vision. It narrows blood vessels in the body, including in the eyes, which increases your risk of macular degeneration and optic nerve damage.
- Wear sunglasses. Seems like a no-brainer, but many of us aren’t aware that UV exposure can increase our risk of cataracts and melanoma of the eyes. Look for shades that block 100 percent of UVA/UVB rays.
- Eat dark, leafy veggies. Carrots have been in the spotlight for too long. Sure, they’ve earned bragging rights as it relates to better health, leafy greens such as kale and spinach can be your best vision protector due to the antioxidants they contain.
As a rule, make it a habit to get your eyes checked on an annual basis. The eye doc will make sure you have the most appropriate prescription and identify issues that may otherwise remain undetected.