As the U.S. population ages, the number of Americans with major eye diseases is increasing, and vision loss is becoming a major public health problem, according to the National Eye Institute.
By the year 2020, the number of people who are blind or have low vision is projected to increase substantially, according to the Archives of Ophthalmology. Blindness or low vision affects 3.3 million Americans age 40 and over, or one in 28, according to study authors. This figure is projected to reach 5.5 million by the year 2020.
So what can you do to keep your eyes healthy?
Here are five tips:
- Point the air conditioner away from your eyes when driving. If you have air going into your eyes for long periods of time, it can lead to corneal abrasions and dry-eye-syndrome.
- Some foods are great for your eyes. For instance, fish contains omega-3 fatty acids (great for preventing dry eye syndrome). Sweet potatoes contain lots of vitamin A (helps improve your night vision). Spinach contains lutein (which prevents age-related macular degeneration or ARMD, and cataracts). And blueberries have the most antioxidants of any fruit. Having a cup of yogurt with extra blueberries on top each morning will help you prevent ARMD.
- Instead of cooking with yellow onions, try cooking with red ones. Red onions contain large doses of quercetin, an antioxidant that helps fight cataracts.
- Take a daily multivitamin supplement. Studies have shown that women who take vitamin C supplements for 10 years or more are 77 percent less likely to contract cataracts.
- Don’t smoke. It’s a major cause of cataracts, dry eye syndrome and glaucoma.