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Three Tips for a Lifetime of Healthy Vision

Photo: Courtesy of Nathan Nugent

William T. Reynolds, O.D.

President, American Optometric Association

Did you know nearly all Americans believe their eye health is just as important as the health of their heart, but nearly half of those, ages 23-38, don’t think they need an eye exam if their vision is clear, according to American Optometric Association’s (AOA) Eye-Q® survey? During March’s Save Your Vision Month, the AOA reminds patients to prioritize their eye health and vision care in 2021 by scheduling their families’ in-person, comprehensive eye exams.

For millions, the disruption of everyday routines during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges, including changes in work, school, travel, even meal preparation! As we transition to what is closer to our pre-pandemic lifestyles, here are three things that you and your family can do to ensure healthy eyes and good vision: 

1. Schedule yearly comprehensive eye examinations

In-person, comprehensive eye health care is one of the most important, preventive ways to preserve vision. After all, your doctor of optometry may detect early signs of more than 270 serious health conditions or diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration, Graves’ disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer and more! 

And remember – there’s no app for that! 

You may have seen apps advertised that can ‘replace going to the eye doctor.’ As windows into your whole-body health, your eyes deserve more than automated tests that can miss signs of serious illness. So, make sure your eyes aren’t just looked at, but truly seen. And only by a trusted doctor of optometry. 

2. Give your eyes a break from digital device use

Most Americans, including children, spend at least 7 hours or more a day using computers or other digital devices such as tablets and smart phones. This constant activity increases the risk for dry eye, eyestrain, headaches and fatigue. The AOA recommends practicing the 20/20/20 rule—every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.  

3.  Eat your greens

As part of a healthy diet, eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day—particularly leafy greens such as spinach and kale. Nutrients such as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc, help protect eyesight and promote eye health.  

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