What You Can Do to Help Keep Your Eyes Healthy and Safe to Ensure You're Seeing Your Best

April 12, 2022

Can you imagine what it must be like without the ability to see? Sight is probably our most valuable sense. Our eyes are one of the most important organs we have and considering they only take up about 2% of our body, that’s quite impressive. We should take care of them!

Our eyes are good for more than seeing the world around us or winking at the apple of our eye! Our eyes can tell the world what we’re feeling, and for most of us, it’s a person’s eyes that we first fall in love with. 

They say our eyes are the windows to our souls, in which case we should keep them healthy and clear. Even if they don’t give us a view directly into our souls, they do give us a window to our physical health. 

Did you know that a regular eye check-up can actually help you detect problems like glaucoma, diabetes, and stroke? Having your eyes checked and keeping them safe and healthy simply makes good sense.

That horse has left the stable -- I’m already wearing glasses! How about some eyeglass cleaning tips?

Taking care of your eyes is important – even if you need glasses! But yes, we have some great tips for you! 

Eyeglasses can protect our eyes in many ways, from sunlight in the case of sunglasses or tinted lenses, to serving as a shield against all sorts of sprayed particles. You may wear glasses to read or drive, or perhaps you wear them all the time - even to the swimming pool!

Cleaning glasses properly sometimes just doesn't work – thanks to streaks, stains, or dust. In addition, the lenses can get scratched if you use the wrong technique.

Wash and dry your hands first. You don’t want hand creams or such to smear your glasses.

Tap water is the best way to clean dust particles and other dirt from frames and lenses. Simply hold your glasses under lukewarm running water. If a film of greasy substances has formed on your glasses, add one or two drops of dishwashing liquid or glass cleaner. People swear by Dawn!

Spray eyeglass lens cleaners are available from your ophthalmologist or the drug store which can be helpful when you are not at home.

Let your glasses drip off a little before you dry the lenses (and the frame) with a cloth. Microfiber cloths are best for not scratching your lenses since they don’t attract lint and dust particles. Unsuitable for cleaning your glasses are T-shirts, cotton or linen dish towels, cloth or paper towels, as these are made of coarse particles that cause scratches when cleaning the glasses.

Do You Have Questions About EyeCare? See the Answers Below

How often should I have my eyes checked?

In old age, diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration occur more frequently, often without any symptoms at first. Many eye diseases can be treated well if they are detected in time. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people over the age of 65 see their ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam every year or every other year. If you are driving then you should consider checking them more often to be safe.

“90% of blindness caused by diabetes is preventable. Ask your health care team to help you set and reach goals to manage your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol—also known as the ABCs of diabetes.”  CDC  

What can I do on a daily basis to care for my eyes?

With age, our eyesight deteriorates -- for most all of us. But there is a lot you can do to keep your eyes healthy for as long as possible. 

Relaxation: Yoga protects the eyes

A healthy lifestyle that includes yoga is more effective for healthy eyes: everything that promotes and improves blood circulation, for example, is also good for the eyes.

Sleep: Healthy rest

Sufficient sleep is also good for the eyes: if they are closed and do not have to work, their muscles relax, and vision recovers.

Nutrition: It should be well-balanced

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and sufficient fluids is important. If you eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, you don't need any additional food supplements for your eyes.

Too much alcohol: risk of lens clouding increases

If you drink a glass of wine or beer now and then, you don't need to worry about your eyesight. Studies have shown, however, that high-proof alcohol alters the composition of the tear film and promotes dry eyes.

Tobacco: Smoking makes life colorless

What does harm the eyes, however, is nicotine. People who smoke increase their risks of eye diseases, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

I love watching TV and often sit a long time in front of my computer. Should I be worried about damaging my eyes?

When we concentrate on a screen, we forget to blink. Normally, we have a blink frequency of 20 to 40 blinks per minute. During highly concentrated screen use, this frequency can be reduced to as little as five blinks. This dries out the eyes and, as a result, the image can become blurred and we can hurt our eyes. 

  • Adjust the lighting using the device brightness adjustment. Your screen shouldn’t be brighter than the room.
  • Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes. During this break, look into the distance for 20 seconds. If you are in a car, look into the green fields or grassland – green is a soothing color for your eyes. Important is allowing your eyes to refocus away from the screen.
  • Your screen should be further than two feet away from your eyes. Your eyes work harder if the screen is closer to your face. It can also lead to neck and back pain if you are looking up or down for too long.
  • You can also use blue light filters or blue light glasses, which reduce the amount of display light coming from your screen.

Can my eyes suffer if I am out of shape?

Even if at first you don't imagine that your body weight has anything at all to do with your eyes, you can imagine why these two are connected. Fat cells cause inflammatory factors. This initially means that you could get conjunctivitis more easily. 

Worse is the fact that diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration are associated with a so-called “silent inflammation.” In other words, if we’re overweight, these diseases, which can lead to blindness, are exacerbated by increased body weight.

“Protecting your overall health can go a long way toward keeping your eyes healthy! It’s important to make healthy choices and take good care of yourself. Keep in mind that healthy habits like eating well and being active can lower your risk for diseases and conditions that can lead to eye or vision problems, like diabetes or high blood pressure.” National Eye Institute

Wayne told me he has a home remedy to care for his eyes. Are home remedies safe?

There are many safe home remedies that can help with dry eyes. For acutely irritated eyes, you can also combine several together. 

Cucumber: The classic home remedy for eye problems. Place one cucumber slice on each of your closed eyes and relax for about 20 minutes. Afterward, you can remove the cucumber slices. 

Potatoes: Since potatoes also contain a lot of water, you can use them in the same way as cucumbers. Use raw potato slices.

Black tea: The antioxidants in black tea keep the eyes moisturized, while the tannins in it soothe the eyes. Simply place a damp tea bag, which you have used to brew tea, on each eye. Make sure they are no longer too hot!

Homeopathy can be an important alternative or accompaniment for the treatment of various ailments. It can help decisively improve the quality of life of seniors. It’s important to note that all eye complaints such as diseases and injuries of the eyes should not be treated without seeking medical advice.

Bella said she eats foods that are good for her eyes and avoids foods that are bad for her eyes. Are there good and bad foods?

Anything bad for your body is going to be bad for your eyes. Saturated fats, salty foods, or simply junk foods are not going to do your body any favor. Think about it – your eyes need water and they need vitamins. These are hard to find in salty, fatty, snack foods.

It’s well known that carrots are good for our eyes. There are other important foods that are very important for healthy eyes -- even more than carrots! Various vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds provide very important nutrients that promote eye health and protect against various eye diseases. 

Even if you don’t like cooking, you can still whip up an easy meal that is healthy and tasty AND good for your eyes! 

Leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard, savoy cabbage, or rocket contain a lot of carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein. Their intake can prevent eye diseases such as AMD (age-related macular degeneration) or cataracts. 

Tuna, salmon, trout, herring, and anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which our retinas need to function properly. In addition, these fatty acids can protect the eyes from dryness and reduce the risk of developing glaucoma. 

Cashews, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, etc. are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which protects against age-related eye diseases.

Other orange-colored vegetables and fruits also contain vitamin A, making them a good source of nutrients: mangoes, apricots, and sweet potatoes.

Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C -- antioxidants that are important for healthy eyes and protect against age-related eye diseases.

Are sunglasses good or bad for my eyes? 

The eye is very good at adapting itself to different light conditions. After all, our eyes have evolved over millions of years in the presence of the sun.

It’s better to wear no sunglasses at all than sunglasses with only dark lenses but without UV protection. Then the pupils open behind the dark lenses and more UV light enters the eye than would be healthy.

Without UV protection the eye is led "behind the light." The natural protective mechanism then no longer works. This is why all sunglasses sold in EU countries must bear the CE mark and have UV protection as standard.

“The right pair of sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure boosts your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration. Choose a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.” WebMD

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Senior Living FYI

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