How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

By Zimbabwe Optometric Association (ZOA) 

Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E are essential for maintaining your eye health and might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. 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. 

The right pair of sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure may increase 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, but don’t necessarily offer added protection. If you wear contact lenses, some offer UV protection. It’s still a good idea to wear sunglasses for an extra layer. 

No matter what you do, make sure that your eyes are protected. If you’re going swimming for extended periods, wear goggles to avoid exposing your eyes to chlorine. Meanwhile, if you’re gardening or attending to a DIY project at home, put on safety glasses to protect your eyes from dust particles, bacteria, and injuries. 

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

Certain sports can also lead to eye injury, wear the recommended eye protection. 

Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause eyestrain blurry vision, trouble focusing at distance, dry eyes and headaches.

To protect your eyes: 

  • Make sure your spectacle prescription is up to date and good for looking at  a computer screen. 
  • 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. 
  • If your eyes are dry, blink more or try using artificial tears. 
  • Rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking across the room for 20 seconds.  

The hands are exposed to a lot of dirt, dust and bacteria, and all of these can easily be transferred to your eyes, so avoid touching or rubbing them to prevent infection and irritation. Wash your hands regularly to keep such bacteria at bay and prevent them from getting in contact with your eyes, eyeglasses, and contact lenses. 

Sufficient fluid intake is essential to your body’s overall wellbeing, including the eyes. If you’re hydrated enough, you prevent your eyes from getting dry and irritated. Just like the rest of your body, your eyes need to recharge too, and this happens while you sleep. So make sure that you obtain sufficient sleep each day to keep your eyes revitalized and healthy. 

For further information or advice on any of the above tips, please contact your Optometrist or health care provider. 

Originally published in the December Issue of Ndeipi Magazine

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