In the hustle and bustle of modern life, our vision is sometimes taken for granted.

Protecting the eyes should be an important part of overall health care for Americans of all ages. It’s easy to incorporate steps into your daily routine to ensure healthy eyes and vision.

Prevention is key

More than anything else, it's vital to schedule yearly comprehensive exams. Eye care should begin early in life. Parents should bring infants six to 12 months of age to their local optometrist for a thorough assessment. (And don't forget to give your eyes a break by forcing them to focus on something other than on your computer screen throughout the day.)

Putting care first

Under the Affordable Care Act, vision coverage is part of the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit. The good news is that millions of children now have access to yearly comprehensive eye exams, follow-up care and treatment, including eyeglasses.

Here are four tips to follow to help preserve your eyesight.

1. Protect against UV rays

Long-term exposure to the sun poses significant risk to your eyes. No matter what the season, it’s extremely important to wear sunglasses.

2. Eat healthy

Certain nutrients such as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and Omega 3 essential fatty acids, can be beneficial for your eyes. Think leafy green vegetables and certain varieties of fish for starters — not just carrots.

3. Give your eyes a break from digital devices

Two-thirds of Americans spend up to seven hours a day using computers or other digital devices such as tablets and smart phones. This constant eye activity increases the risk for dry eye, eyestrain, headaches, and fatigue. It is recommended that people practice the 20/20/20 rule — every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.

4. Don’t smoke 

Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of harmful chemicals and increases the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.