May is Healthy Vision Month, the perfect time to think about the importance of keeping your eyes healthy and safe. The point is not to strive for healthy vision and clear sight during this month, but to remind ourselves to take important steps for preventative eye care all year long. Here are 5 simple tips for maintaining your family’s eye health.

1. Get a Comprehensive Eye Exam

Don’t underestimate the importance of getting an annual eye test and/or a comprehensive dilated eye exam even if your vision is fine. These exams can help detect diseases in their early stages and prevent vision problems from becoming severe and affecting daily life. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will use drops to widen the pupil, allowing them to get a good look at the back of the eyes and detect any changes or damage to the structures of your eye.

2. Eat Right and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Fostering bad eating habits, smoking, and being overweight can contribute to poor eye health. Make sure your family eats a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids to keep your eyes healthy. Also, maintain a healthy weight to lower your risk of diabetes, which is a risk factor for several vision problems.

3. Wear Protective Eyewear

When playing sports, swimming, or doing some activities around the home, make sure your eyes are well-protected. Protective eyewear includes goggles, eye guards, safety glasses, safety shields, and UV protective sunglasses specially designed to provide protection for the activity you’re engaged in. Protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which provides better protection than other plastics.

4. Rest Your Eyes

Most people spend a lot of time looking at their phone, TV, or computer screen. Prolonged exposure to the light emitted by these devices can tire and dry your eyes. Staring at the school board and books all day can also cause eye strain. Use the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a break and reduce eye strain. For every 20 minutes on a screen, look about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Replace your kids’ evening activities with those that don’t require screens or intense eye focus. Also, be sure you and your family get sufficient sleep.

5. Understand Your Family History

Some eye diseases are hereditary. As such it’s important to find out if any of your family members has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition. This information can help you determine if your or your children are at higher risk of developing some vision problems. Be sure to inform your eye care professional regarding your history.

Eye health is an important part of our overall health. Contact us to schedule your eye exam, or if you need more eye care tips, our experienced and friendly staff would be happy to help you.