Eye HealthLifestyle Topics
Water & Contacts Don’t Mix
To help prevent eye infections, contact lenses should be removed before going swimming or in a hot tub.
Jumping a Battery
Take precautions to prevent eye injury. Never lean over the battery and always wear safety goggles.
Eye Protection Works
Wearing the proper protective eyewear for sports and other activities can help prevent 90% of eye injuries.
It's Not OK to Skip a Day
To control glaucoma, take eye drops exactly as prescribed by your ophthalmologist—your sight depends on it.
Give your Eyes a Break
To prevent computer eyestrain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
What Is an Ophthalmologist?
Are You Fit at 40?
A baseline eye exam is recommended at age 40, when the signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur.
Babies and Children
Learn about specific nutrition and exercise by age and stage for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kids, and teenagers recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Encouraging good eating and exercise habits with kids sets patterns they’re likely to stick to their entire lives
Foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are good for eye health as well as general health, according to the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (AREDS), funded by the National Eye Institute, and other research. These nutrients are linked to lower risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract and dry eye later in life. Choosing healthier foods is a good thing no matter how early or late in life we begin.
Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish.
People who have diabetes or AMD or are at risk for these diseases can also benefit by following a low-glycemic (low-GI) index diet. Most people with diabetes, and others who have used a low-GI diet to lose weight, are familiar with glycemic index charts. The GI value is based on how fast a food’s carbohydrates raise the body’s blood sugar levels; low GI foods have less impact on blood sugar fluctuations.
People with AMD may be able to slow the progression of the disease by taking a special nutrient supplement called the AREDS 2 formula, developed as a result of the AREDS2 research (a follow-up to the study described above). The formula includes:
- Vitamin C (500 mg);
- Vitamin E (400 IU);
- Lutein (10 mg);
- Zeaxanthin (2 mg);
- Zinc oxide (80 mg); and
- Copper oxide (2 mg).
This is promising news for people who are at risk for or already have AMD. But before stocking up on these supplements, be sure to talk with your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) to learn if they are recommended for you. Some people should not take large doses of antioxidants or zinc for medical reasons.
If you currently take an older version of the supplement based on the original AREDS formula, ask your Eye M.D. before you switch to the AREDS 2 formula.
People who smoke should ask their physician before taking the original AREDS supplement, because one of the ingredients, beta carotene, as been associated with a higher risk of lung cancer in smokers or people who have recently quit smoking. An alternate version of the original AREDS supplement formulated to be safe for smokers is available. Your Eye M.D. can give you more information on this option.
The new AREDS 2 formula does not contain beta carotene.
A large study in women showed a potential benefit from taking supplements of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.
As you think about ways to improve your eye health, remember: vitamins and nutritional supplements are not a cure for eye disease, nor will they give you back vision that you may have already lost. But good nutrition at all ages is vital for your entire body, and plays an important role in maintaining healthy eyes. Talk with your Eye M.D. about any concerns you have about your eye health.