August is National Eye Exam Month — a timely reminder to visit your eye doctor at least once every 2 years. Early detection can prevent macular degeneration (a disease of the retina, resulting in loss of central vision, particularly for seniors), cataracts (a degenerative disease where the lens of the eye clouds over), and eye diseases that lead to blindness. A comprehensive eye exam includes several vision tests. But between visits, take these steps to strengthen your eyes:
- Eat eye–healthy food: Omega–3 fatty acids can delay macular degeneration; eat fish twice a week to load up. Fruits and vegetables are other great choices for potent amounts of beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
- Drink green tea: Research shows that the antioxidants from green tea can protect eye tissues.
- Protect yourself: Wear goggles when playing sports — an inadvertent finger to the eye can be extremely painful and damaging.
- Keep your shades on: Sunglasses negate harmful ultraviolet sunlight. But make sure those shades block 100% of UV rays.
- Look around: Your eyes will strain if they’re constantly glued to a computer monitor, so refocus on different parts of the room every 15 minutes or so.