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Seeing is Reading!

Let's talk about reading and keeping our reading eyes healthy! There are many benefits to reading!

  • Mental Stimulation

  • Stress Reduction

  • Knowledge

  • Vocabulary Expansion

  • Memory Improvement

  • Stronger Analytical Thinking

  • Improved Focus

  • Better writing skills

  • Relaxation

  • Entertainment

However, in order to keep reading, we need to keep our eyes healthy by:

  • Eating well

  • Avoiding smoking

  • Wearing eye protection

  • Taking a break from the screen

  • Visit your eye doctor

WHY do these 5 things affect our eyes, and HOW do we keep them healthy with these tips?!

Eat Well- Eating healthy is important for our health in general, but more specifically it helps fight off age-related vision problems. Common vision issues include macular degeneration and cataracts.  Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E are important in order to prevent these problems.  These nutrients can be found in leafy green vegetables, oily fish, non-meat protein sources like eggs, nuts and beans, citrus fruits, and pork.

Avoid Smoking- Smoking increases the risk of cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration. Just like eating healthy increases your general health, smoking decrease your health overall. Avoid smoking at all costs, and make a point to stay clear of second-hand smoke as well!

Wear Eye Protection- There are multiple situations in which eye protection is important! Sunglasses are extremely important in protecting your eyes from the UV rays from the sun.  Increased exposure to the sun increases the risk of exposure. How do you pick the right sunglasses? Choose a pair that will block 99%-100% of UVA and B rays.  The other important use of eye protection is in safety situations at work or in the home.  While working in any hazardous physical or airborne area, one should make a point of wearing safety glasses or protective goggles.

Take a Break from the Screen- The glare from a computer, tablet, and phone screen can create eyestrain, blurry vision, focus trouble, dry eyes, headaches, and body pains. Always wear your prescription glass if prescribed by your doctor. Walk away from the screen every 20 minutes or look away from your screen for 20 seconds.  Keep screen sources at eye level to avoid back and neck pains. Blink often to keep eyes from drying out.

Visit the Eye Doctor- We all, young and old, need a regular eye exam. It can notify doctors if one needs prescription glasses or has been burdened by an eye disease.

We need to keep the conversations going with our doctors about our eyes!  Many individuals do not bring up the topic of their eyes because they do not view it as a serious issue or that it is a natural occurrence with aging; however, many people are not aware of how eye health affects our general health!  As we see the world with our eyes, we can take a peek into our health through our eyes.  During an eye exam, an optometrist can detect hypertension by looking at the blood vessels in the retina, they can see indicators of diabetes through damage of small blood vessels, and an exam can detect unusual grown in the eye that may hint at a form of eye cancer or brain tumor that may cause a loss of vision or damage to the eye.

Next time you visit the eye doctor or primary physician, consider telling your practitioner the following:

  • The last time you had an eye exam

  • How your eyes have been feeling/seeing

  • Changes in your vision

  • If you have been having troubles driving or seeing in the dark

  • If you have had increased sensitivity to light

  • Any issues with current glasses or contacts

  • Any experience with red, itchy, burning, stinging, or watery eyes

  • Experiencing any eye pain

Remember to keep those reading eyes in mind when you're thinking about your health!

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