You’ve learned about how important eye exams are for your family’s vision health. But did you know that lifestyle choices like diet, exercise and smoking can also have an effect on your long term vision health?
A CNIB survey showed that less than half of Canadians believed that being a non-smoker had a major impact on their vision health. Similarly, just 39% recognized the importance of exercise on eye health, and just 53% understood the effect diet can have.
In reality, all of these things can have profound consequences on your vision health. Here are some choices you can make today to save your sight:
Eat eye healthy foods
Healthy eating makes sense – for both our overall well-being and for our vision. Good nutrition for the eyes means a balance of vitamins, minerals, fats and other nutrients. Studies have shown that nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E may help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. Regularly eating these foods can help lead to good eye health:
Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources
Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
Staying active helps you maintain a healthy weight, making you less likely to get obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, which is one of the leading cause of blindness in adults.
Tobacco smoking is directly linked to many adverse health effects, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Smokers are also at increased risk for developing cataracts.
Wear UV filtering sunglasses
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is an invisible component of sunlight that is most commonly known to cause sunburns and skin cancers. UV damage can cause cataracts, retinal damage, skin cancer around the eye, and both cancerous and non-cancerous growths on the eye. When buying sunglasses, check for 100 percent UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV-A rays and UV-B rays.
Want to know how you’re doing? Take our Healthy Vision Checklist to see how your eye health habits stack up!