Visual loss or impairment is relatively common. Globally, around 22 million people have a distance or near visual impairment, reports the World Health Organization. Presbyopia is the primary condition believed to cause near visual impairment. Glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, refractive error, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy are the conditions that cause distance visual loss or blindness.
While most people with vision loss are above the age of 50, this condition can affect people of all age groups. The WHO believes vision loss can be prevented if people follow preventative measures. That said, here are a few guidelines that will help you take care of your eyes and prevent vision loss:
1. Eat A Healthy Diet
You can mitigate your risk of developing common eye conditions by eating a balanced diet. A handful of researchers have found that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zeaxanthin, lutein, zinc, Vitamin C, and E reduce a person’s risk of serious eye diseases. These include cataracts and age-related macular degeneration— a condition most common among people over 50 years old that causes painless vision loss of central vision. Adding blueberries, peaches, avocados, leeks, kale, red peppers, and spinach can minimize your risk of age-related macular degeneration.
A 2021 Ophthalmology Times article reveals that people who consume leafy greens like spinach and kale are at a lower risk of developing glaucoma. While the jury is still out on deciding if leafy greens reduce glaucoma risk, one theory supports that nitrates in them regulate pressure inside the eye. They also improve blood flow. That is why you should add leafy greens to your diet.
Fish such as halibut, tuna, and salmon can also reduce your risk of vision loss, as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Limit Screen Time
Excessive screen usage is driving up the rates of dry eyes, myopia, and other vision problems both in adults and children, say eye specialists. As computers, tablets, and smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, ditching them isn’t possible. How do you reduce your risk of eye problems associated with excessive screen usage, then? By using them in moderation. Take breaks whenever possible. The 20-20-20 rule that eye specialists recommend can minimize eye strain and other eye-related issues. After every 20 minutes of looking at your mobile or computer screen, look at something that is 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Alternatively, artificial tears can come in handy in treating eye dryness.
While you can buy any over-the-counter artificial tears, we advise you to steer clear of EzriCare Artificial Tears. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently recalled it due to potential contamination. Using this contaminated eye drop can result in eye infections and increase your risk of vision loss. Since the recall, several people who lost their vision have sued EzriCare, Global Pharma Healthcare, Delsam Pharma, and any other responsible parties, reports TorHoerman Law. In the EzriCare lawsuit, plaintiffs allege that they developed eye infections after using Artificial Tears.
The presence of carbapenem-resistant pseudomonas aeruginosa in EzriCare damaged their eyes, leading to vision loss. If you’re unsure which artificial tears you should choose, consulting a doctor will be the best bet.
3. Say No To Smoking
Smoking cigarettes is widely known to cause lung cancer and heart disease. But what is lesser known is that smoking leads to vision loss. Recent findings cite that smokers are four times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than non-smokers. Quite surprisingly, they are anticipated to develop this disease ten years earlier than those who do not smoke.
Plus, age-related macular degeneration in smokers progresses at a faster rate and is less responsive to treatments. But how does smoking cigarettes or tobacco affect the eye? From ammonia and formaldehyde to arsenic, tobacco smoke contains around 4,500 toxic chemicals. These travel to the delicate tissues of the eyes via smokers’ bloodstream. Consequently, these chemicals destroy the structure of the eye cells. People who smoke 15 or more cigarettes a day are at an increased risk of developing cataracts.
Studies have even shown a strong link between high blood pressure and diabetes, which is a risk factor for glaucoma. As tobacco smoke disintegrates the tear film’s lipid layer, it contributes to dry eye syndrome, reveals a Baskent University study. Whether you’re a chain smoker or an occasional smoker, quit smoking today. Otherwise, it will harm the tissues of your eyes, which will increase your chance of losing sight.
Vision loss deteriorates the quality of life of individuals while affecting their mobility and independence. It has also been linked with higher levels of depression. But with these tips, you can prevent vision loss. Bear in mind that vision loss is irreversible.
That is why you should start taking care of your eyes today. Also, don’t forget to visit a doctor every year to see if your eyes are healthy. By performing routine checkups, your doctor will let you know how healthy your eyes are and the precautions you should take to minimize the risk of vision loss.