Top Five Eye Care Tips for Better, Clearer Vision
Out of our five senses, eyesight is perhaps the one we rely on most. We use our eyes to perceive the world around us and react according to our environment. That’s why declining vision and vision impairment need to be detected and treated as early as possible — and healthy eyes supported with regular vision care.
How do you take care of your eyes? Typically, eye care involves regular eye exams and check-ups with your eye doctor, as well as staying in good health. But with changes in lifestyle and occupation, basic eye care isn’t enough anymore. You need to be more proactive in protecting your eyesight, especially with the added strain caused by time spent in front of screens. And because they’re everywhere — from work computers to personal devices — digital eye strain could be the biggest threat to vision health.
The good news is, you can do a lot to protect your eyesight. Aside from regular eye exams, eye care is mostly about lifestyle management: you can control digital strain, take steps to improve your overall health and prevent premature vision decline as a result. Here’s how:
How to Take Care of Your Eyes
1. Remember and follow basic eye care
You can’t go wrong with basic eye care — there’s a reason that your eye doctor reminds you to look after your general health and needs you to be transparent about underlying health conditions. All of these factors are connected and can impact your vision.
Need a refresher on basic eye care? Follow these basics:
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of yellow fruits, green leafy vegetables, and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Exercise regularly and avoid smoking to prevent or control obesity and diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. These are all conditions that increase your risk of vision problems like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
- Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation. These will help avoid damage caused by sun exposure and lower your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Wear protective eyewear when playing sports, working, and doing repairs or projects that require tools and heavy equipment to avoid eye injuries.
- Know your family medical history because some vision problems are hereditary, which increases your risk of developing them.
- Keep track of risk factors, such as age-related vision problems, and take steps to adopt healthy habits to lower your risk of developing them.
- If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure to wash your hands before wearing them and clean them regularly to prevent eye infections.
2. See your eye doctor for regular eye exams
Most patients only see their eye doctor — if they have one — after months or repeated episodes of blurry or distorted vision, so much that these affect their work, leisure, and daily routine. But did you know that many of these vision problems can be effectively treated and prevented from worsening with early detection?
A complete, proactive approach to eye care should include annual eye exams. This is the best way to track your vision health and detect changes or decline as early as possible.
Optimal eye care consists of both periodic vision screening and a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Unlike vision screening alone, a comprehensive dilated eye exam allows your eye care provider to detect eye diseases that don’t have warning signs or symptoms in their early stages. Your eye exam will include:
- Visual field test: Measure peripheral (side) vision to determine any loss or decline that may indicate glaucoma
- Visual acuity test: Read an eye chart positioned about 20 feet away to check how well you can see at various distances
- Tonometry: Measure the interior pressure of the eye to detect glaucoma
- Dilation: Uses eye drops that dilate (widen) the pupils to allow more light to enter the eye and allows your eye care provider to examine the tissues at the back of the eye, including the retina, macula, and optic nerve
- Refraction test: This is recommended if you already experience refractive errors and need to determine which type of glasses or lenses you require for clear vision.
3. Understand and manage digital eye strain
Digital devices like computers, tablets, smartphones, and even the TV are now essential — they’ve become so ingrained in our daily work, communication, and recreation routines that it’s become impossible to be separated from them even for a day. And unlike reading a physical book in a well-lit environment, with the pages static and not emitting light behind them, digital devices require more effort for the eyes to keep up with.
When we read, write, watch, and play on a screen, our eyes have to adjust to accommodate the continually changing pixels. If you’ve ever wondered why you feel tired after hours in front of a screen, this is why — digital eye strain. Also known as “computer vision syndrome,” “computer-related eye fatigue,” or “visual fatigue,” digital eye strain is one of the biggest roadblocks to eye care. It can be managed with healthy lifestyle habits, no matter how much we rely on — and live in front — of screens.
Are you experiencing digital eye strain? While anyone who spends hours in front of a screen is at risk, these symptoms can be exacerbated if you already have vision problems like myopia or nearsightedness:
- Dry eyes and blurry vision due to a lack of blinking
- Eye irritation
- Double vision
- Excessive tearing
- Eye pain
- Neck and shoulder strain.
On its own, digital eye strain may not lead to serious vision problems; however, untreated symptoms like dry eyes can lead to inflammation, corneal abrasion and ulcers, and other conditions. And even if there’s no cure for digital eye strain, you can take steps to adopt healthy screen time habits.
For example, it was previously thought that blue light in digital screens contributed to eye strain, so many devices now feature blue-light-blocking features. As well, many people started using blue light-filtering glasses and other devices. However, whether these devices alleviate the symptoms of digital eye strain remains to be seen since blue light itself has not been confirmed that screens cause eye strain.
Instead, you can follow the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes spent in front of a screen, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to rest and break up screen time into smaller, healthier chunks.
4. Implement basic ergonomics
Eyecare is full-body care — that is, vision health and general health are interconnected, so healthy habits have a positive impact on the health of your eyes. This is especially important as more and more people suffer from digital eye strain, whether due to work or leisure.
To control this, you need to practice full-body awareness: create an ergonomic workspace wherein your computer screen is at an appropriate distance from your eyes. Not only does this promote better eye care and health, but it also allows the body to relax and prevent muscle strain.
Make sure to get up and stretch regularly to improve blood flow and your posture. Most importantly, be mindful of lighting: improper lighting causes more eye strain, especially when the screen is too bright, and the rest of the room is too dark.
5. Stay hydrated
Hydration is one of the pillars of good health, including eye care. Dehydration harms your overall health, from muscle strain to weakness and feeling lethargic.
For eye care, dehydration can cause dry eyes and headaches. This is further worsened when you wear contact lenses because soft contacts are up to 50% water, and evaporation from irregular blinking can cause discomfort. Make it easier to remember to stay hydrated — take water breaks simultaneously as 20-20-20 digital eye strain breaks.
For more tips on improving your eye care in Toronto, and to book your regular eye exam and check-up, call Clearview Vision Institute in Toronto at 647-493-6196, or contact us here.