You didn't receive an owner’s manual with your eyes, but here are some things your eye doctor would like you to know to take good care of them.
- Your Eyes and Ultraviolet Light: The Good
A little daily sunlight on your skin is good for your eyes. A few minutes daily of exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) light within sunlight is needed for the body to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D protects against macular degeneration, a condition that leads to vision impairment. Your eye doctor won’t tell you to stay indoors to protect your eyes (but they will tell you to wear sunglasses)! Natural light is also the best for seeing (and reading), since our eyes have developed to respond to the spectrum in our natural environment. A pair of sun readers can prevent uncomfortable glare off the printed page if you are reading outdoors.
- Your Eyes and Ultraviolet Light: The Bad
However, UV light on the eyes can indeed harm them. Exposure over the course of years can cause macular degeneration as well as cataracts, another form of vision impairment. For this reason, most eyewear comes with a UV-protective coating. A bespectacled person has better protection outdoors than a person with no glasses; your eyewear isn’t just fashionable, it’s good for your eye health! It’s important to keep in mind that small-framed glasses, whether clear or tinted, allow UV light to reach the eye from the top and sides. The American Optometric Association recommends wraparound sunglasses for those who spend much of the day outdoors. Just as good, and less well known, are contact lenses with an FDA Class 1 UV blocker. No UV light can get around these, because they cover the entire pupil and iris.
- Your Eyes and Nutrition
Have you wondered why children are told to eat their carrots for better vision? It’s because carrots contain beta-carotene, a nutrient that does in fact protect against macular degeneration. Carrots are also a source of Vitamin A, which protects against night blindness. What you probably weren’t told as a child is that sweet potatoes, winter squash, spinach, and kale are even better sources of beta-carotene. Liver, eggs, and milk are also great sources for Vitamin A.
Furthermore, the list of nutrients that are good for eye health includes:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (think fish and walnuts)
- Bioflavonoids (in berries and beans, for example)
- Vitamin C lutein, zeaxanthin, selenium, zinc, Vitamin E
- Vitamin D, as mentioned above
The message from all of this? Eat a balanced diet with lots of unprocessed foods, and your eyes will benefit. Your visual acuity will not improve, but it will run less risk of being degraded.
- The Good and the Bad of Polarized Lenses
Oh, the delight of viewing a bright day through polarized sunglasses! By removing glare, polarized lenses increase eye comfort outdoors. However, there are times when you’ll want to take off those polarized glasses and maybe put on a non-polarized pair. LCD and LED displays are often unreadable through polarized glasses. In some specific outdoor sporting situations, glare can actually help you, so polarized glasses aren’t the best choice—under some skiing conditions, for example, glare may be the telltale sign of ice, a hazard you want to see so you can steer clear.
- Will Reading in Dim Light Damage your Eyesight?
How many times have you been warned not to read in dim light? This advice, as old as it is, is also false. Old eyes do often lose their visual acuity, but this happens regardless of the light the person used for reading (or sewing, or engraving miniatures on a grain of rice). You may find that your eyes are more comfortable, and that you are able to focus longer, if you use brighter light and if you wear reading glasses.
Help Keep Your Eyes Healthy with Our Wide Selection of Eyeglass Frames!
We’ve talked about the good, touched on the bad, but there is no ugly here! Our collection of beautiful glasses will help you take good care of your eyes. Shop www.ihearteyewear.com today to view our fashionable choices of readers, sunglasses, bifocal sunglasses, and eyewear accessories. And stay tuned for the second part of this blog to help keep your eyes in tip top shape.