More Americans are experiencing vision problems than ever before—and for reasons beyond the fact that we’re spending more time on our phones.
Even hotter temperatures caused by climate change are now linked to worsening eyesight. Today, more than 4.2 million people aged 40 years and older are legally blind or have low vision, while 1.6 million residents under 40 live with vision loss. Common eye diseases that these people deal with include macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. These cause vision loss and discomfort in diagnosed individuals and may develop into blindness if left unattended.
Fortunately, you can avoid these eye issues by caring for your vision, leading to a happier and healthier you. To start, here are simple ways to boost your eyesight:
Wear sunglasses and hats
Harmful UV rays from the sun cause several eye conditions, including cataract formation and macular degeneration. Besides this, you may also get photokeratitis—similar to getting sunburn on the eyes—when your eyes are exposed to the sun.
This is why wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection to shield your eyes when outdoors is essential. Specifically, eyewear brand Oakley offers polarized sunglasses that help filter harmful UVA and UVB rays while still maintaining visual clarity and contrast. Polarized lens options are even available in signature frame styles like the oversized Holbrook XL and relaxed Pitchman.
Pair these shades with a wide-brimmed hat to maximize sun protection, and place them by your door or in your car so you don’t forget to wear them. Wearing these protective accessories prevents UV rays from affecting your eyes, so you can keep them healthier for longer.
Attend regular eye exams
Detecting eye conditions early lets you treat them immediately, preventing further complications. That’s why undergoing eye exams every one or two years is vital.
If you find it troublesome to go to the optometrist or there’s no clinic nearby, you can schedule an eye exam at a physical store. Target Optical has hundreds of locations nationwide, and they assist their customers by allowing them to book an eye appointment through them. They host professionals from Independent Doctors of Optometry, meaning you can easily have an exam done after your next Target haul. If you need a bit of help paying for eye exams, organisations like Lions Club International can get you a discount.
Get regular checkups
Apart from eye exams, try to get regular checkups every three years or less. The benefits of medical checkups include chronic disease detection, risk factor control, and clinical preventive services. At first glance, these may not seem related to eye health, but certain health conditions can indirectly affect your vision.
Take diabetes: diabetic retinopathy causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina and can lead to vision loss and eventual blindness. Diabetes can only be diagnosed via blood tests, which your doctor will recommend if they observe that you’re showing diabetic symptoms.
Much like eye exams, retailers offer cheap and convenient alternatives to booking an appointment with your doctor. Select Walmart Health locations offer physical checkups for primary care. They even provide telehealth options for improved ease of access. You can also check if your insurance provider allows you to get free medical checkups.
Get enough sleep
Getting sufficient sleep can be difficult for some people due to unhealthy habits like scrolling on social media or binge-watching movies. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can cause dry, itchy, or bloodshot eyes that serve as a doorway for infections, particularly if you start scratching them.
As such, prioritizing sleep is an important lifestyle habit to have. Aim for at least 6.5 hours of sleep but not less than 4.5, as this is linked to cognitive decline. Aside from setting bedtime reminders and avoiding digital distractions in your sleeping area, you can try relaxation activities like yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation during the daytime to lower your stress levels at night and improve your sleep.
Protecting your eyes by getting regular medical and vision exams, wearing sunglasses and hats, and sleeping sufficiently helps prevent eye diseases. Remember these tips to boost your eyesight for a happier, healthier you!