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Keeping Your Eyes Healthy in the New Year

As we start the new year, it’s a good time to review some things to keep in mind for taking care of your eyes in 2014. Here are some things to keep in mind to keep your eyes healthy and happy for another year.

Most importantly, how long has it been since you had an eye exam? So many eye problems are treated with greater effectiveness when detected early.It’s best to have a regular check up every year.

While it’s normal for our vision to change in some ways as we get older, the faster the more serious eye problems – such as macular degeneration and even glaucoma – can be detected, the better.

It might be winter, but how about some “sun block” for your eyes? Treat your eyes to some sunglass with 100 percent UV protection and wear them with regularity, especially in areas with snow, where sun glare is prevalent.

Give your contacts and cleansing solutions a thorough examination. Are the contacts still in good condition? Has your lens cleaning solution expired?

Coming off the holidays when we’re eating all sorts of things that might not exactly be the most healthy, but surely taste good, it’s time to consider an “eye diet.” Most people have heard that vitamin A is good for your retina, but very few of us aren’t getting enough of that vitamin. Look to add green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, both rich in lutein, which can help control symptoms of macular degeneration. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, can help prevent dry eyes.

We’ve all heard about the dangers of smoking, but too often it’s forgotten how smoking can contribute to a variety of eye problems. Studies show that smoking increases the chances of developing macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage.

Lastly, look to increase your overall health. Your body will thank you and so will your eyes. Any sort of aerobic exercise increases circulation, which can help glaucoma patients by lowering the pressure within the eye. A regular physical exam with your family doctor can lead to early detection to diseases like diabetes, which can lead to eye problems.