It’s true; many people don’t start worrying about their eye health, until there’s a problem. Unfortunately, it can be very easy to take our vision for granted. The fact that you’re taking the time to learn about good habits to protect your vision, is a good sign though. Even with some of the most common eye conditions, such as Macular Degeneration there are things we can do protect our eyes and vision. That’s why this article focuses on good habits to protect your vision.

For many of us in the Ottawa area, most of the past year was spent in front of a screen. Our kids would ideally learn from teachers in the classroom, but much of this past school year was online. Our social lives, doctor appointments, fitness classes and more have been online. Unfortunately, staring at phone, computer, or television screens for too long causes eye strain, leading to blurry vision.

You may have noticed your eyes are dryer and you have trouble focusing on items far away. These are signs of being in front of a screen for too long. Headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain are also likely.

To protect your eyes from the screen:
– Blink often and use artificial tears to prevent your eyes from drying.
– Follow the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
– Ensure your eyeglass prescription is up to date.
– Try bluescreen glasses; they’re lightly tinted to take the edge off the strain and keep your eyes healthier.

Eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your eyes. In fact, your diet affects your sight in a couple of ways. First, a balanced diet reduces your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Secondly the variety of nutrients helps to keep your eyes strong. Try adding more of these into your meals.
– VITAMIN C will lower your risk of developing cataracts. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, as are strawberries, and peppers. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the eyes from free radicals.
– VITAMIN E will reduce your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Eating sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, and red peppers will boost your levels of Vitamin E.
– OMEGA 3’s protect adults from macular degeneration and aid proper drainage of intraocular fluid. Foods like salmon, nuts, and chia seeds are a great source of omega fatty acids, which also decreases the risk of glaucoma.
– ZINC is necessary to maintain the retina, cell membranes and protein structure of the eye. Zinc also helps to produce melanin, which is a pigment that protects the eyes from UV light. Nuts and seeds are high in zinc, as are oysters, red meat, and beans.

While the above nutrients will do amazing things for your body and eyes, they won’t protect you from UV rays. Too much exposure to UV light increases your chances of cataracts as well as macular degeneration.

Sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays are the only reliable protection. Wraparound lenses will help block the light from reaching the eyes, from the side.

Remember to wear your sunglasses in the winter too. I’m sure you’ve experienced glare reflecting off the snow on a sunny day. It’s easy to forget your sunglasses in the winter but they’re equally important for protecting your vision.