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Eye Care

How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

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Don’t take your eyes for granted. Take these easy steps to keep your peepers healthy.

1. Eat Well
Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. To get them, fill your plate with:

Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards
Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources
Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
Oysters and pork
A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.

2. Quit Smoking
It makes you more likely to get cataracts, damage to your optic nerve, and macular degeneration. If you’ve tried to kick the habit before only to start again, keep at it. The more times you try to quit, the more likely you are to succeed. Ask your doctor for help.

3. Wear Sunglasses
The right pair of shades will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure boosts your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Choose a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare while you drive.

If you wear contact lenses, some offer UV protection. It’s still a good idea to wear sunglasses for an extra layer.

4. Use Safety Eyewear
If you use hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles.

Sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to eye injury. Wear eye protection. Helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses will shield your eyes.

5. Look Away From the Computer Screen
Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause:

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble focusing at a distance
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain

To protect your eyes:

  • Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date and good for looking at a computer screen.
  • If your eye strain won’t go away, talk to your doctor about computer glasses.
  • Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. That lets you look slightly down at the screen.
  • Try to avoid glare from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
  • Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
  • If your eyes are dry, blink more.
  • Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.

6. Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Everyone needs a regular eye exam, even young children. It helps protect your sight and lets you see your best.

Eye exams can also find diseases, like glaucoma, that have no symptoms. It’s important to spot them early on, when they’re easier to treat.

Depending on your eye health needs, you can see one of two types of doctors:

  • Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eye care. They can provide general eye care, treat eye diseases, and perform eye surgery.
  • Optometrists have had 4 years of specialized training after college. They provide general eye care and treat the most common eye diseases. They don’t do eye surgery.

A comprehensive eye exam might include:

  • Talking about your personal and family medical history
  • Vision tests to see if you’re nearsighted, farsighted, have an astigmatism (a curved cornea that blurs vision), or presbyopia (age-related vision changes)
  • Tests to see how well your eyes work together
  • Eye pressure and optic nerve tests to check for glaucoma
  • External and microscopic examination of your eyes before and after dilation

An Eye Safety Checklist for the Workplace

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With about 2,000 workplace eye injuries occurring each day, eye safety at work is a serious concern, one with long-term consequences. Approximately 10-20% of on the job injuries lead to temporary or even permanent blindness.

You wouldn’t knowingly work in poor air quality or skip the helmet in a construction zone, but are you taking the right precautions with your eyes on the job?

Understanding the risks is key in helping to prevent injury. For one, it will help you know how to protect your eyes and even your face with the right safety equipment. It’s important not to be misled into thinking “readers” or prescription eyeglasses are enough protection for your workplace threats. Proper eye protection is actually customized for each workplace environment. And may even need to meet pre-set standards for safety and effectiveness.

Lenses that filter unsafe light, goggles that prevent moving objects from reaching the eye or full-sized masks that virtually eliminate the risk of fumes, chemicals or sparks from reaching the eye area are just a few examples.

You can arm yourself against workplace eye injury by reading this handy checklist and learning all about safety on the job.


Eye Safety Checklist

Use this handy checklist on the job to identify possible hazards and to take steps to prevent eye injury at your worksite:

Evaluating Hazards At Your Job Site

  • Identify the primary hazards at the site for each category:
    • projectile
    • chemical
    • biohazard
    • radiation
  • Identify additional hazards posed by nearby workers, large machinery, and the possibility of falling or shifting debris

Create A Safe Work Environment

  • Minimize hazards from falling or unstable debris
  • Make sure that tools work properly
  • Enable and use built-in safety features such as machine guards
  • Make sure that all workers and volunteers are trained on proper use and safety before working with tools and equipment
  • Keep bystanders out of hazardous areas

Use Appropriate Eye and Face Protection

  • Use appropriate eye protection that meets industry-accepted standards
  • Match appropriate eye protection for the hazard
  • Make sure the protection is in good condition
  • Ensure proper fit and consistent use of the eye and face protection

Develop and Implement Safety Practices

  • Remove debris from hard hats, hair, forehead, or the top of eye protection before exposing eyes and face
  • Do not rub eyes with unclean hands or dusty and dirty clothing
  • Maintain eyewear, replace when damaged or worn

Have a Plan in Place for Responding to Injury

  • Be prepared for a possible injury and stock appropriate first aid supplies
  • Know the best safety procedures for the injuries likely on the job site
  • Create a plan for communicating with emergency medical help as well as internally with shift and senior managers

Taking Care of Your Eyes in the Digital Age

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From the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed, more and more of us are on our smartphones, tablets, computers or other digital devices. That’s a lot of eyeballs glued to a lot of screens.

If you count yourself among the 90% of adults who spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen of some sort, there’s something you should know: You could be putting yourself at risk for digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

It’s a problem that is occurring more and more frequently — even in kids.

Symptoms may include dry, red and irritated eyes, fatigue, eye strain, blurry vision, problems focusing, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain.

Digital eye strain — more common than you think

When spending long periods of time concentrating on digital devices, the blink rate may be reduced by up to 66% on average, resulting in dry, itchy or burning eye.

Other factors include the size of the font, your posture, your computer set-up, and the amount of blue light emitted from your screen.

Take steps to protect your eyes now

The good thing is that if your screen habits put you at risk for digital eye strain, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your eyes.

  1. Build a work space that promotes good posture. Center your computer screen at arms-length and slightly below eye level. This helps you keep your back straight, and helps you maintain a proper distance from your screen.
  2. Position your screen to minimize glare. Do not tilt it upward.
  3. Some eye doctors recommend investing in computer eyewear with an anti-reflective lens that can also be combined with a specially formulated coating that blocks and selectively absorbs blue light.
  4. Follow the 20/20/20 rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes, and look at something at least 20 feet away.
  5. Adjust the brightness of your device. Consider changing the background color from bright white to cool gray.
  6. Lessen the amount of overhead light and surrounding light competing with your device’s screen.
  7. Increase text size to make it easier to read.
  8. Don’t forget to blink. Blinking lubricates your eyes so they stay moist and healthy.
  9. If you have children, consider limiting their screen time, and reducing your own screen time to set a healthy example.