There is no doubt that eyesight plays an important role in your livelihood and wellbeing as you age. In addition to regular professional eye examinations, you can be proactive and make a few simple lifestyle choices to promote overall eye health and maintain great eyesight.

Eat wisely

The food you eat can have a great impact on your eye health.  Look for foods rich in antioxidants such as kale, spinach and other leafy greens, as well as colourful fruits and vegetable like pumpkin, red capsicum, and orange juice. Your eyes will thank you for the zinc found in high-protein foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, and whole grain cereals. Embrace healthy fats (Omega-3) by adding more salmon, olive oil, and walnuts to your diet. Speak to your specialist about vitamins and supplements which may also be beneficial.

Stay active

Exercise is essential for healthy aging, but did you know that it can also contribute to your eye health? As found in several studies, there is a link between exercise and reducing the risk of several common eye diseases. While exercise may not directly affect your eyesight, it can help to prevent other conditions which cause vision impairment, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Wear some sunnies!

Just as your skin needs sunscreen, your eyes need protection too. The danger here is that the effects of sun exposure to your eyes aren’t immediately visible, but the long term results can be just as harsh. Be sure to choose polarised eyewear that offers UVA and UVB protection. Other methods of sun safety like wearing a hat and seeking shade will also reduce the amount of sun exposure around the sides of your sunglasses.

Sensible screen time

Australians are spending an average of one third of their day looking at a screen. You can protect your eyes by taking regular breaks to focus on something in the distance for at least 30 seconds.  Try to position the computer screen at least 50 cm (about an arm’s length) away from your face, and slightly below eye level. Your blink rate will be lower when using a screen device, which can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated, and in some cases lead to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Ask your specialist about using lubricating eye drops during periods of extended screen time.

Quit smoking

While it’s no surprise that smoking is bad for your health, it is worth noting the significant affects it can have on your eye sight. Studies show that smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts, and the risk of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is tripled. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing Uveitis and Dry Eye.

Don’t take your eyesight for granted or wait until you notice a deterioration to seek advice. Book a professional eye exam to establish a baseline of your overall eye health, and get more tips from your specialist to avoid preventable eye conditions.