10 Steps to Clearer Vision in the New Year
Published by on January 8, 2024
With the new year in progress, health is top-of-mind for many of us. One aspect of our well-being that we often neglect is our eyesight. Our eyes are essential for our daily activities, learning, communication and enjoyment of life.
Our eyes are also vulnerable to factors that can impair vision, such as aging, eye strain, injuries, infections, diseases and environmental hazards. Take comfort in knowing that there are easy steps you can take to improve and protect vision today and for a lifetime:
- Get regular eye exams. You should get an eye exam at least once a year, or more often if you have any risk factors or symptoms of eye problems. An exam can detect problems that could affect your sight early and can help you get the right prescription for glasses or contact lenses, if needed.
- Wear glasses or contact lenses correctly. If you are still wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, wear them as prescribed by your eye doctor. Follow instructions for cleaning, storing and replacing your contact lenses, and avoid wearing them for longer than recommended. Keep your glasses clean and in good condition and update as needed.
- Protect your eyes from the sun. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can damage eyes and increase the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye diseases. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses that block 99 percent or more of both UVA and UVB rays, and a hat or a visor that shades your eyes.
- Prevent injuries. Eye injuries can occur from sports, hobbies or work accidents. Wear protective eyewear, such as goggles, safety glasses or shields during activities that may pose a risk to your eyes. Avoid touching your eyes with dirty or sharp objects and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any eye trauma.
- Protect your eyes from infections. Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites, and can result in redness, itching, discharge, pain or vision loss. To prevent infections, wash your hands frequently and avoid rubbing your eyes. Do not share eye makeup, contact lenses or eye drops with others, and discard contacts when they expire. If you have any signs of an eye infection, visit an eye doctor immediately.
- Look after your overall health. Eye diseases, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration, can affect your vision and lead to blindness if left untreated. To prevent or delay the onset of eye diseases, maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing blood sugar and blood pressure, and quitting smoking.
- Avoid digital eye strain. Using digital devices, such as computers, smartphones or tablets, for prolonged periods of time can cause blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and eye fatigue. To prevent or reduce digital eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 or more feet away for at least 20 seconds. Adjust the brightness, contrast and font size of your screen for comfort, and take frequent breaks from your screen.
- Treat dry eyes. Use lubricating eye drops as needed, and/or a humidifier or air purifier to improve the air quality in your home or office. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. If your dry eyes are severe or chronic, see your eye doctor for longer-lasting treatment options, such as prescription eye drops, punctal plugs or surgery.
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet can provide your eyes with the nutrients they need to function properly. Some of the nutrients that are beneficial for your eyes include:
- Vitamin A: Promotes a healthy retina and cornea and prevents night blindness and dry eyes. Sources of vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, eggs, liver and dairy.
- Vitamin C: Protects eyes from oxidative stress and inflammation. Sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, broccoli, peppers and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E: Protects eyes from UV damage and cataracts. Sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, avocados and vegetable oils.
- Zinc: Helps transport vitamin A to the retina and supports the production of melanin, a pigment that protects the eyes from UV damage. Sources of zinc include oysters, beef, pork, chicken, beans, nuts and whole grains.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Reduce inflammation and dry eyes and prevent macular degeneration and glaucoma. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and soybeans.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin: Carotenoids that filter out harmful blue light and prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, corn, eggs and orange peppers.
- Consider Modern LASIK or another permanent vision correction procedure. In fact, Kugler Vision is the only practice in the region to specialize in all 7 FDA-approved vision correction procedures currently available. Omaha LASIK patients often report less eye strain as they reduce or eliminate their need for glasses and contact lenses—which automatically lowers the risk of eye injuries and infections caused by them.
Need help taking care of your eyes? Check number 1 off this list by scheduling your next eye exam at Modern Vision Solutions, a Kugler Vision-associated practice right here in Omaha.
As modern vision correction specialists, we at Kugler Vision are committed to serving Omaha LASIK patients’ needs on the journey to a life free from visual barriers. Take the first step with a thorough eye analysis to determine if you qualify for Modern LASIK. Omaha-area patients who aren’t candidates for LASIK may be candidates for one of our 6 other advanced vision correction treatments. Book online at LASIKOmaha.com.
Dr. Drew Dickson is a board-certified ophthalmologist who specializes in LASIK and other refractive surgery procedures. He completed his undergraduate studies at Liberty University before earning his medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine. He then completed his ophthalmology residency at the Medical University of South Carolina Storm Eye Institute.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Dickson is involved in research and has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Dickson is known for his compassionate bedside manner and commitment to providing his patients with personalized care. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.