As the saying goes: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". This is so very true, especially when it comes to diseases of the eye. We recommend the following as a start to a good preventive eye care program. This is not an exhaustive list, but will put you on the road to maintaining healthy eyes:

Eat Healthy and Keep Well Hydrated

A healthy diet rich in fruits and green, leafy vegetables rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carotenoids, Omega-3 and antioxidants are excellent in promoting healthy eyes and helping to prevent diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma. Examples of these foods are oranges, peaches, kale, collard greens, flax seed and fish. Good hydration is important for the functioning of all the cells in your body, including those in your eyes.

Quit Smoking

If you are a smoker, especially if you have a family history of macular degeneration, you should give up smoking. Smoking is bad news for your entire body. Eyes are very delicate and sophisticated organs in our bodies, and can suffer a lot of damage from oxygen deprivation, atherosclerosis and toxins resulting from smoking. Smoking is especially bad when you are recovering from surgery of any kind. Smoking delays healing and causes scarring. Be kind to your body and quit smoking before your body starts suffering the many consequences.

Exercise Regularly and Maintain an Ideal Body Weight

Exercise is good for your entire body including your eyes. A healthy global metabolic rate will help deliver oxygen and nutrients to your body and get rid of undesirable waste products. Exercise also decreases eye pressure and this is helpful in patients suffering from glaucoma. Weight loss is a very important part of controlling diabetes, high blood pressure and other potentially sight-threatening diseases. A well-controlled diabetic will have less likelihood of developing diabetic eye disease. By the same token, people with well-controlled high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other medical problems that can affect the eyes, will be less likely to have eye problems from these diseases.

Routine Eye Check-ups

Many eye problems are silent and can only be detected by a qualified eye specialist. For this reason, everyone should have regular eye check-ups, especially if you have any eye diseases that run in the family. Often, if things are picked up early, eye damage and permanent loss of vision can be treated and prevented from getting worse. You should have a routine eye exam with your Optometrist every 2 years or more frequently if you have a family history of eye disease. Your Optometrist will refer you to an Ophthalmologist as appropriate depending on any problems that are picked up on your routine eye exams.

Maintain Good General Health

It is very important to be connected with a family doctor and have routine physicals to ensure that any underlying high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and other general medical conditions are being treated. These diseases can affect your entire body including your eyes and often have few symptoms before they cause damage. Do not let your first indication that you have high blood pressure be a stroke in the eye and permanent vision loss. Make sure you see your doctor regularly and are taking your regular medications as prescribed.

Wear Eye Protection

It is extremely important to wear safety goggles when using any heavy equipment, grinding metal, welding, doing yard work or even during leisure activities like fishing. Eye injuries happen randomly and quickly, and can easily be avoided with appropriate eye protection. If you are working or playing out in the sun, especially around water or snow, the glare can be very hard on your eyes. It is important to use UV protection; polarized lenses help reduce glare from snow and water considerably. If you have one bad eye, it is especially important to protect your good eye. Wear glasses or some form of eye protection at all times when outside the home, and make sure you do not try and wander around in the dark if you get up in the middle of the night. Devastating eye injuries have occurred, which could have been prevented simply by turning the lights on.

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