Welcome to Information Source on Healthy Eyes
Eye Health Tips
Tips below will help you keep your eyes healthy and your vision at its best.
Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really make sure. When it comes to refractive errors, some people don't realize they aren't seeing as well as they could with glasses or contact lenses. In terms of eye disease, many common eye diseases (glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration) often have no warning signs. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you're seeing your best.
Eat right to protect your eyes. You've heard carrots are good for your eyes. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too. Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.
Wear protective eye wear. Wear protective eye wear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity. Most protective eye wear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do sporting goods stores.
Quit smoking or never start. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.
Be cool and wear your shades. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, your eyes can get fatigue and you sometimes forget to blink. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.
Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly. To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect them as instructed and replace them as appropriate.
Know your family's eye health history. Talk to your family about their eye health history. It's important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are often hereditary. This will help you determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.
How We See
There are many different parts of the eye that help to create vision. Light passes through the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. The cornea bends - or refracts - this incoming light. The iris, the colored part of the eye, regulates the size of the pupil, the opening that controls the amount of light that enters the eye. Behind the pupil is the lens, a clear part of the eye that further focuses light, or an image, onto the retina. The retina is a thin, delicate, photosensitive tissue that contains the special "photoreceptor" cells that convert light into electrical signals. These electrical signals are processed further, and then travel from the retina of the eye to the brain through the optic nerve, a bundle of about one million nerve fibers. We "see" with our brains; our eyes collect visual information and begin this complex process.
Common Vision Problems
The most common vision problems are refractive errors, more commonly known as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. The length of the eyeball (either longer or shorter), changes in the shape of the cornea, or aging of the lens can cause refractive errors. Most people have one or more of these conditions.
What is refraction?
Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. Vision occurs when light rays are bent (refracted) as they pass through the cornea and the lens. The light is then focused on the retina. The retina converts the light-rays into messages that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets these messages into the images we see.
What are the different types of refractive errors?
The most common types of refractive errors are nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia.
Nearsightedness (also called myopia) is a condition where objects up close appear clearly, while objects far away appear blurry. With nearsightedness, light comes to focus in front of the retina instead of on the retina.
Farsightedness (also called hyperopia) is a common type of refractive error where distant objects may be seen more clearly than objects that are near. However, people experience farsightedness differently. Some people may not notice any problems with their vision, especially when they are young. For people with significant farsightedness, vision can be blurry for objects at any distance, near or far.
Astigmatism is a condition in which the eye does not focus light evenly onto the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This can cause images to appear blurry and stretched out.
Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the ability to focus up close becomes more difficult. As the eye ages, the lens can no longer change shape enough to allow the eye to focus close objects clearly.
Who is at risk for refractive errors?
Presbyopia affects most adults over age 35. Other refractive errors can affect both children and adults. Individuals that have parents with certain refractive errors may be more likely to get one or more refractive errors.
What are the signs and symptoms of refractive errors?
Blurred vision is the most common symptom of refractive errors. Other symptoms may include:
- Double vision
- Glare or halos around bright lights
- Eye strain
How are refractive errors diagnosed?
An eye care professional can diagnose refractive errors during a comprehensive dilated eye examination. People with a refractive error often visit their eye care professional with complaints of visual discomfort or blurred vision. However, some people don't know they aren't seeing as clearly as they could.
How are refractive errors corrected?
Refractive errors can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery.