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Out of the five senses, sight is arguably the most important when it comes to everyday functions. Your eyes allow you to engage with your surroundings and decide whether things in the environment are friendly or a threat. If your sight is impaired, you won’t be allowed to do many things that are considered essential. For example, driving is out of the question.
Certain jobs require good eyesight as well. As people age, eye disorders like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration are more likely to develop. Medications such as Azopt (brinzolamide), Patanol (olopatadine), Zaditor, Lotemax (loteprednol), and Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic) are available. But because eye damage is usually irreversible, it is important to actively keep your eyes healthy.
Eating for Eye Health
Cataracts and macular degeneration are age-related conditions, but they can be prevented with a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and lutein. Having vitamin A, omega-6 fatty acids, and lots of antioxidants in your diet can improve the photoreceptors in your eyes and maintain its ability to sense light. Try the following eye-friendly foods today:
- Carrots: These vegetables are a sweet and tasty addition to any dish and are high in vitamin A and beta carotene. Vitamin A is needed for eye health, and beta carotene is needed to make vitamin A.
- Leafy green vegetables: Spinach, kale, and collards are rich in lutein and the antioxidant zeaxanthin. Leafy green vegetables are also great for boosting your vitamin C intake.
- Nuts and legumes: Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, Brazil nuts, and lentils are good for eye health because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
- Beef: Beef is high in zinc, which plays a vital role in long-term eye health. Zinc is known for its ability to delay age-related macular degeneration.
- Other noteworthy mentions: Oily fish (tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel), seeds (chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds), and citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruits) are also beneficial to your diet. 
Those who are serious about keeping their eyes healthy should stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, it is best not to start. Studies show a direct link between smoking and macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye, and even diabetic retinopathy. The evidence is clear: smokers are around four times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers. Heavy smokers are up to three times more likely than non-smokers to develop cataracts. Smoking can cause high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for diabetes and glaucoma. 
You may wonder, “what does diabetes have to do with eye health?” Diabetes can affect the entire body, with severe cases leading to heart disease, stroke, and vascular disease, just to name a few. Retinopathy is a disease of the retina and is a common diabetes complication. Smoking and diabetes can lead to retinopathy by damaging the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissues in the eye. 
The right protective gear is important for keeping your eyes injury-free. If you spend time in the sun, be aware that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can increase the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Sun exposure has many benefits, but you can reduce the risk of eye damage while enjoying the sun by wearing a quality pair of sunglasses. These days, the options seem endless, with specialized sunglasses available for specific sports and activities. The main functionality you should look for is the ability to block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. You may also consider polarized lenses to reduce glare for activities like snowboarding on a sunny day or driving during sunrise or sunset. 
Apart from protecting your eyes from the sun, you should also protect them from any activity-associated injury. If you have a job that exposes you to chemicals and other airborne debris, you may want to wear safety goggles. Polycarbonate lenses are great for sports like hockey and lacrosse because they won’t break like traditional lenses. 
Reducing Screen Time
Like any other part of your body, your eyes need rest and can be injured from overworking. Staring at a screen for too long can stress your eyes and cause long-term vision loss. If you are required to use a screen for prolonged periods, try using a blue-light filter and ensuring the screen is the right brightness for your surroundings. Take breaks from the screen every 20 minutes and look at objects at varying distances to help your eyes relax. It is also recommended that you don’t view a screen first thing in the morning when your eyes haven’t had a chance to warm up. 
Yes, the eyes are delicate, but keeping these tips in mind and having frequent eye checkups can help them serve you for the long run. If you are experiencing eye discomfort, speak with your doctor. Minor problems like eye allergies shouldn’t be a cause of worry, and medications like Azopt (brinzolamide), Patanol (olopatadine), Zaditor, Lotemax (loteprednol), and Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic) can be prescribed to treat symptoms.
The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.