Our eyes work so effortlessly that it’s easy to take them for granted—except when they pain us, start feeling dry, or else our vision suffers.
But don't wait for your eyes to suffer before you start taking care of them. There’s a lot you can do to keep your eyes healthy, from wearing sunglasses outdoors to eating the right nutrients.
Here are a few essential tips for eye health. Follow them every day to maintain your vision well into old age.
1. Eat Healthy
Eating healthy is good for your eyes in more than one way. It will feed them key nutrients and antioxidants that support normal vision, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
A heart-healthy diet low in saturated fats and rich in lean protein, fruits, and vegetables is good for the delicate blood vessels that supply your eyes with nutrients and oxygen.
A simple way to eat healthy is to follow the Plate Method. Fill ¼ of your plate with whole grains, ¼ with lean protein, and ½ with non-starchy vegetables and/or fruits.
To this, you can add healthy plant oils such as olive oil and canola oil.
Healthy eating will also help you maintain a good weight. Being overweight puts you at risk of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, which can cause flashes of light, floaters, and vision loss.
Tip: Consider taking an eye health supplement like SightC to complement a healthy diet. SightC is a natural supplement that combines the power of goji berries, turmeric, and other superfoods. It's based on over 30 years of clinical experience in treating patients with dry eye disease.
2. Take Frequent Breaks from Screens
Staring at screens for hours every day—whether it’s your personal laptop, office computer, phone, tablet, TV, or all of them—can strain your eyes and make them dry.
Screens can both reduce blink rates and increase incomplete blinks, which is a recipe for eye strain.
But taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes can keep you working productively behind a screen without the risk of eye strain.
You’ve probably heard about the 20-20-20 rule already. It’s one of the best eye care tips for both reducing and preventing eye strain.
It’s simple: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at an object 20 feet or more away. It will work out your eyes muscles and shift your focus from the screen to more distant objects.
3. Wear Sunglasses
UV radiation from sun exposure increases the risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, eye cancer, and other eye conditions.
Grab a pair of sunglasses that provide 99% to 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays. Wear them not only on bright days but on cloudy ones, too.
4. Wear Safety Eyewear
When it comes to tips to keep your eyes healthy, safety eyewear is important though often neglected.
A pair of polycarbonate plastic eyeglasses is inexpensive and can safeguard your eyes whether you’re spray-painting a fence, pressure-washing your car, or playing basketball, baseball, or rocket sports.
Safety eyewear can prevent 90% of eye injuries that occur while playing sports, according to WebMD.
Keep them handy so you’ll get into the habit of using them at home, at work, and any time there’s a risk to your eyes, however small.
5. Treat or Manage Health Conditions That Can Affect Your Eyes
Diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunctions, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome—these are only a few of the many conditions that can affect vision.
High blood pressure is a common example of a condition that can seriously impair eyesight. It may cause blood vessel damage or retinopathy, nerve damage, or the buildup of fluid under the retina.
Even if some conditions are not curable, you can manage them to reduce the risk of eye damage. So it’s important to discuss with your doctor the effect that any existing condition may have on your eyes.
6. Practice Good Eye Hygiene
Our list of tips for good eyesight continues with eye hygiene. Eye hygiene isn’t too hard because you don’t have to wash your eyes the same way you wash the rest of your body.
Your eyes cleanse themselves through tears secreted by the tear glands. These tears lubricate your eyes and keep them clean from microbes even as you sleep.
That said, a few easy eye hygiene tips can help you reduce the risk of eye infections:
- Wash your hands before putting on or taking off contact lenses.
- Don’t wear contacts longer than prescribed.
- Wash the contacts case with saline solution, not tap water.
- Don’t nap or sleep with your contacts on, and don’t wear them when swimming.
- Don’t use eye makeup that’s older than 3 months.
- Don’t share eye cosmetics or use samples already used by others.
- Clean up eye makeup from your eyes before going to bed.
7. Avoid Smoke, Wind, and Direct Warm Air
Smoke is particularly bad for your eyes. It increases the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other diseases that can affect eye health.
If you smoke, your eyes would be grateful if you quit—together with the rest of your body!
Wind and air from fans or air conditioning systems can make your eyes dry. They may also increase the risk of infections in certain cases.
Dust particles and debris carried from the wind may scrape the surface of the cornea. So it’s a good idea to wear sunglasses or, even better, wraparound glasses, on windy days.
8. Pay Attention to the Side Effects of Medication
From allergy drugs (antihistamines) to birth control pills, many medications can affect your vision.
Some side effects, like blurriness or double vision, can be a health hazard when you’re driving. Others may be uncomfortable and lead to dry, painful eyes.
Some medications may even increase your risk of developing serious eye diseases. So, it’s a good idea to read medication labels and discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor.
9. Stay Active
One of the most important but often overlooked healthy vision tips is to stay active. Being active will reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which can impact your eye health.
Exercise regularly, take the steps instead of the elevator, walk to work instead of driving. Getting 10,000 steps a day can be great for your health.
If you have to work for hours at a desk, try getting a standing desk if possible. It will reduce the harmful effects of prolonged sitting and encourage you to move more.
10. Get Your Eyes Checked Regularly
Don’t wear eyeglasses or contacts? You should still get your eyes checked at least once every two years. The beginning of many eye diseases, including dry eyes, can be subtle enough for you to disregard the early symptoms.
Don’t ignore apparently small issues like dark floating spots, light flashes, light sensitivity, secretions, or a feeling of grittiness in your eyes.
You also want to know your family history of eye diseases. From cataracts and night blindness to glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, many eye diseases run in families.
Getting a complete eye exam carried out by an ophthalmologist is one of the best tips to keep your eyes healthy. Eye exams are painless and don’t take long.
A regular exam will measure how well you see, depth perception, side vision, eye focusing, and more.
Before you get a full eye checkup, you can also test your eyes online for dry eye symptoms. Dry eyes disease is common in the digital age and can cause many eye symptoms apart from dryness. Our questions-based test takes only a few minutes.