As an Optometrist, I think I have the best job in the world, because I get to look into people’s eyes all day. Not only do I help people see better, I help people take control of their overall health as well.
You may have heard the saying, “The Eye is The Window to the Soul.” I believe that the eyes are the windows to the body and your health because unlike any other organ in the body, you can actually see into the eye. For example, the only way to know how the heart is functioning is to listen to it with a stethoscope, but you can’t see the heart unless you perform surgery. However, through an eye exam, we can use a microscope to actually see the inside of your eye. Not only does this allow us to evaluate the health of your eye, but it also shows us a glimpse into the health of the rest of your body. Through a comprehensive eye exam, we can often find evidence of many systemic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, before someone has even been diagnosed.
Over a third of all health conditions involve the eye in some way. We can see evidence of nerve damage, nutritional deficiencies, and inflammation just by looking through our microscope at the eye. That being said, it’s very important to schedule an eye exam every year. Until then, here are three tips to get you started!
1. MAKE A YEARLY EYE EXAM A PRIORITY
This is important because, as mentioned, through an eye exam we can see evidence of major illnesses in the body. We are also looking for sight-threatening eye diseases, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Many times, a person with an eye disease can see 20/20 on the eye chart, but could be slowly losing their eyesight without knowing it. Through early detection, we can slow the progression of many of these diseases before they affect your vision. So, just because you think you see well, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an eye exam.
2. FIND WAYS TO INCORPORATE MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES INTO YOUR DIET
Foods that are high in Vitamin A, such as leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, and carrots, are great for your eyes. These foods are high in antioxidants which can protect your eyes from diseases, such as macular degeneration. If you don’t like the tasteof vegetables, you can still nd waysto add them to your foods without necessarily tasting them. For example, spinach has very little flavor when added to soups, casseroles, or omelets. Add a handful of it to your favorite dish, and I promise you won’t know the difference.
3. PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM BLUE LIGHT
Blue light produced by computer screens, phones, and tablets can have harmful effects on your eyes. Research indicates that this short wavelength light can damage the eye and lead to macular degeneration and cataracts a lot earlier in life. It has also been proven to cause nearsightedness at an alarming rate in children. Lastly, blue light has been shown to reduce melatonin production in your body, which can affect the quality of your sleep.
“Try to stay away from blue light at least 2 hours before bed, or you can purchase blue light blocking glasses on the internet or from your eye doctor.” -Dr. Brandon Walley, OD
When considering resolutions for the new year, don’t forget to add healthy eyes to the list! By incorporating these 3 easy tips, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of healthy eyes and clear vision!