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Ways to Protect Your Eyes | Agriculture

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In the United States, approximately 4.2 million adults over the age of 40 are legally blind or have visual impairments. Age-related eye disorders such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma are the leading causes of blindness and poor vision in Americans.

An important aspect of disease prevention is being aware of the disease, the risk factors and understanding the preventative measures, said Dr. Sumathi Venkatesh, health specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Many of these eye diseases can be detected early with annual comprehensive eye examinations allowing appropriate treatment to prevent vision loss and impairment. Being overweight or obese and having health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure can increase your risk for eye problems. If you have any of these risk factors, talk to your doctor about managing your weight and your health. Several eye diseases can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and using appropriate eye protection equipment. The National Eye Institute recommends the following preventative measures to protect your eyes:

Routine eye care – Pay attention to changes in your vision. Contact your eye care provider if your vision is blurry or if you have difficulty seeing. Schedule regular comprehensive eye exams. A dilated eye exam will allow early detection and treatment of eye disease.

Good Nutrition – Eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables (for example, spinach and kale), whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and a variety of foods protein. Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds can help with heart health and the regulation of blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, thus preventing the development of disorders. eyepieces.

Be active – Regular physical activity promotes overall health and helps prevent and manage heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Adults need about 30 minutes of physical activity almost every day. Try to incorporate exercise into your daily activities such as gardening, housework, or the stairs at work.

Stop smoking – Smoking can damage many organs in our body, including our eyes. Smoking can damage the optic nerves and increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye syndrome.

Limit Screen Time – Screen time can tire and dry out your eyes. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. To reduce eye strain, adjust your screen lighting, position the screen to reduce glare, and use blue light filters.

Protect your eyes – Avoid looking directly into the sun. Wear sunglasses, especially those that block over 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Use eye protection when working with chemicals, playing sports, working on construction projects, and mowing your lawn. Make sure your hands are clean when wearing and removing your lenses. Disinfect your contacts and replace them when they are due.

For more information and resources on eye health, visit the National Eye Institute at www.nei.nih.gov and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Vision Health Initiative at www.cdc.gov /visionhealth/index.htm. For nutrition, physical activity, heart health, diabetes, and blood pressure management programs, contact me at the Victoria County Extension Office at 361-575-4581.

Gayle Bludau is the Victoria County Family Community Health Extension Officer at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.