Take stock of daily habits for better eyesight

Save Your Vision Month, which is observed throughout March, is a good time to take stock of how daily habits can impact the quality of one’s vision. Something as simple as keeping the windows of your car clean can make a difference in how hard your eyes have to work to provide the clearest sight.

Many people put on a pair of sunglasses every day, whether on a bright day in the summer or to keep down glare from a snow-covered landscape in winter. That’s what the American Optometric Association wants them to do, rather than treat sunglasses as a summer-only accessory.

The AOA points out that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are always present, regardless of the season, and are a primary contributor to developing cataracts. Sunglasses are also an easy remedy against “blue light” that emanates from the solar spectrum and can increase the risk of macular degeneration.

While both these conditions develop in older individuals, sunglasses are a hedge against squinting, which puts a strain on eyes in people of any age.

Drive with a clear view
For seniors, driving becomes more of a challenge if their eyesight is faltering. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has several tips for elderly drivers to follow to ensure they drive safely.

In addition to keeping their prescriptions up to date, seniors shouldn’t wear glasses that have wide side pieces, as they can obstruct their peripheral vision. Not only shouldn’t they wear tinted eyeglasses after dark, but they should also not drive cars with darkened windows.

Elderly drivers can get the clearest view from their cars simply by cleaning the windows, mirrors and headlights regularly. The instrument panel should also be bright and easy to read. If the car seat is too low to provide a full view of the road, seniors should sit on a cushion to raise themselves up.

Control dry eye
A common condition that affects many people is dry eye, which occurs when not enough tears are produced to keep the eyes comfortable. When irritation develops, the vision could become impaired.

In addition to using over-the-counter products that can simulate natural moisture in the eyes, the AOA suggests taking several steps to solve the problem at home and on the road. For instance, when staring at a computer or a TV for a long period, blinking frequently can get the eyes to moisten more easily.

Drinking lots of water daily hydrates the eyes as it does other parts of the body. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are believed to help the condition. According to Eyeworld.com, the nutrient may reduce dry eye by lowering inflammation in the body and stimulating tear secretion.

One of the largest studies took place at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where researchers found a strong connection between omega-3 and eliminating dry eye, while omega-6 acids seemed to place people at greater risk for the condition. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

People can get more omega-3 into their diets by eating foods such as salmon, tuna, walnuts, canola oil and beans and by taking a dietary supplement such as OmegaKrill from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.

Reduce allergens
With spring coming, an allergy to increased pollen bothers many people and their eyes suffer from itchiness and discomfort. For relief, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology recommends people use their wardrobes to keep down irritants when they venture outdoors. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses are the best blocks to allergens getting into the eyes.

Right after going back indoors, the academy suggests that people use eye drops to rinse any irritants that may have gotten into the eyes.

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