Did you know that over 12 million people over the age of 40 in the United States have issues with their vision? With millions of people facing vision impairment and vision loss, it’s important to take care of your eyes and protect your vision.
In honor of World Sight Day, let’s take a look at some everyday tips you can use to improve and protect your vision.
Take Advantage of Low Vision Features
Low vision can involve variations in vision loss or ability to see. This includes blind spots, impaired night vision, and issues with sight due to harsh glares. If you’re facing these issues, you can utilize certain features on websites and applications.
Most websites and applications have accessibility features such as enlarging the text on the screen which makes it easier to read statements, bills, and other documents online. The American Foundation for the Blind recommends using a screen magnifier for low-vision computer users such as the SuperVision+ Magnifier application. This program enlarges text on screens to make it easier for people to read. For Windows applications, you can use the Supernova Magnifier, and for Apple computers, you can use VoiceOver. If you want to find low vision features on your smartphone, you can go to the phone’s settings menu and change the accessibility there.
Use Low-Vision Aids
Low-vision aids are devices and applications that help people with low vision see and read easier. Examples of low-vision aids include magnifying glasses, magnifying screens, applications on smartphones that enlarge text on physical objects, and flashlights to improve text visibility.
To make it easier to read whenever you need to, keep a magnifying glass and stand on hand and ready to use. You can download apps on your smartphone that act as a magnifying glass and flashlight at the same time. Your smartphone can also be adjusted to fit your vision needs. Check out the Display & Brightness or Accessibility features to find options, such as Light or Dark appearance, VoiceOver, Magnifier and Display & Text Size.
Eat an Eye-Healthy Diet
Diabetic Retinopathy can develop into Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) which is a leading cause of vision loss in individuals diagnosed with diabetes. While there is no definite proof, experts say that some studies suggest eating a diet rich in certain nutrients may help.
Studies have shown that certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, C, and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, might improve vision loss and slow the advancement of eye disease. In general, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, plus egg yolks and fatty, cold-water fish could help keep your eyes healthy.
For a good source of vitamin A, try eating:
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
- Goat cheese
- Fish oils
- Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, or broccoli
For a good source of vitamin C, try eating:
- White potatoes
- Citruses such as oranges
- Brussels sprouts
For a good source of vitamin E, try eating:
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Wheat germ oil
You can find high amounts of zinc in meats such as lamb, pork, and beef, shellfish, nuts, seeds, and legumes. You can find high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in fish such as tuna, sardines, and trout.
It’s important to note that eating these foods should be done in moderation, and eating a well-balanced diet is important for overall health. It’s best to talk with your doctor about the best foods to be eating for your specific condition.
Blink More Often
We blink all the time without even thinking about it, but blinking can help prevent your eyes from becoming irritated or dry which can harm vision capabilities. Blinking cleans the surface of the eye and gets rid of any debris that might have fallen into the eye. Also, blinking helps bring back moisture to the eye which helps alleviate any discomfort that comes with dry eyes.
When you sit in front of a computer screen, your blinking decreases, so it’s important to blink every 10 to 15 seconds to ensure your eyes are getting the moisture and cleaning they need. You can also use a humidifier or eye drops to bring in moisture and act as artificial tears.
Reduce Eye Stress
Eye stress can result from many factors including, being outside for too long on a sunny day, staring at a computer screen for too long, being in a dimly lit room, or not blinking enough. Some of these situations are inevitable in our lives, but there are actions you can take to reduce stress on your eyes.
You can wear sunglasses that block out UV-A and UV-B radiation, limit your screen time, and regularly look away from your computer or TV screen to reduce eye stress. It’s also important to position any screens at a proper distance away from your face so you aren’t straining to see the words on the screen.
Monitor Your Eye Health
It’s important to monitor your eye health and watch out for signs of trouble, like blurry vision or other DME symptoms. If you do notice any changes in your eyesight, contact your eye doctor quickly to assess the problem.
Some common signs of eye problems that might indicate DME include:
- Cloudy vision
- Redness or pain in one or both eyes
- Blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Losing your peripheral vision
- Seeing spots or floaters in your vision
- Seeing washed out colors
If you’re facing these issues, be sure to contact your eye doctor. If you have diabetes, be sure to attend your yearly check-ups and schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you start having symptoms.
Final Thoughts on Improving and Protecting Your Vision
Vision loss and strain can be stressful issues, but with the right care and attention, you can protect yourself against external factors. It’s important to talk with your doctor if you start to experience symptoms of vision loss because, if treated quickly, the effects of DME and other vision issues can be lessened or removed.
For more educational information on vision loss and diabetic macular edema visit dmeandme.com.