Published on Iowa Healthiest State Initiative on behalf of Delta Dental of Iowa
Taking care of your eyes should be a priority just like every other aspect of your health, especially now during Healthy Vision Month. As we head into summer, there are increased risks associated with vision health. Here are some things you can do to keep your eyes healthy.
- Talk to your eye doctor and schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect common eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and macular degeneration in their early stages.
- As the days get sunnier, exposure to ultraviolet rays increases and over-exposure can cause sun damage and cataracts. Protect against UV rays with sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
- If you spend a lot of time on the computer, it’s best to give your eyes a rest. Focusing too long on one thing can make your eyes fatigued. To reduce eye strain, try using the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
- Take this month to eat more foods that protect your sight. For example, dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens help keep your eyes healthy. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, and halibut provide eye health benefits as well.
- This is also a good chance to find out your family’s eye health history. Since many eye diseases are hereditary, talk to your family to see if anyone has been diagnosed so you can determine if you’re at risk for developing one too.
Contacts and Glasses
Do you wear glasses or contacts? Taking care of your eyes is important for everyone, but especially for glasses and contact wearers. Properly cleaning and wearing your glasses and contacts is crucial to ensure you don’t get an eye infection. Follow some of these tips to make sure you’re keeping your eyes safe and healthy.
- Always wash and dry your hands before putting in and taking out your contacts to avoid getting germs in your eyes.
- NEVER store your contacts in water or rinse them in water due to the unknown bacteria and germs that could be introduced. Avoid getting them near water in other situations as well like showering or swimming.
- Don’t sleep with your contacts in (unless prescribed by an eye care provider) to avoid dry eyes when you wake up. Sleeping in contact lenses has also been shown to increase the risk of an eye infection by 8 times.
- Properly clean your contact lenses each time you take them out by rubbing and rinsing them with contact lens disinfecting solution recommended by your eye doctor. DON’T use water or saliva. Use fresh contact solution in your case every time you take them out.
- Clean your contact lens case the same way you clean your contacts: rub and rinse with contact lens solution. Store the case and caps upside down on a clean paper towel to dry. Replace your contact lens case every three months.
- Talk with your eye care provider for more information and tips.
- Just like when taking care of your contacts, wash and dry your hands before cleaning your glasses.
- Gently rinse your glasses under warm water to remove dust and debris.
- Apply a small drop of lotion-free dishwashing soap to each lens and gently rub both sides of the lenses as well as the frame. Make sure to clean the nose pads and where the lens meets the frame because dust and debris often accumulates here.
- Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap.
- To dry, shake gently to get rid of most of the water. Then, use a lint-free microfiber cloth to fully dry the lenses and frame.
- Store your glasses in a clean case rather than on a table or countertop.
- DON’T use paper towels, tissues, the fabric of your shirt, products with acetone, or saliva when cleaning your glasses.
If you’re in need of vision insurance, visit Delta Dental’s website to learn about our DeltaVision plans.