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4 Simple Habits for Healthier Eyes

Instead of waiting until something goes wrong, take care of your eyes now to prevent problems in the first place.

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When you think about reasons to get healthy, you probably think about things like reducing your risk for heart disease and having more energy. All good motivation! But there’s another reason it’s smart to adopt good-for-you habits: They can help keep your eyes healthy. And that’s particularly good in this case, since most people only think about their vision when something goes wrong. Adopting eye-healthy habits now can help keep your eyes healthy down the road. Here are five to start doing today:

1. Buy the right sunglasses. Ultraviolet rays from the sun don’t just do damage to your skin; they can also harm your eyes. Getting shades that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays—and wearing them whenever you’re out—is the best protection.

2. Avoid staring too long at screens. Looking at your computer for hours without taking a break can lead to eye fatigue and strain your vision. The 20-20-20 rule can help: After 20 minutes of staring at a screen, look up and focus on something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

3. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Foods like kale, collard greens, and spinach are full of two super important antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, and foods like seafood, poultry, eggs, and nuts provide zinc, a key mineral. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends making sure you get enough of these nutrients, as they reduce the risk of some chronic eye diseases.

4. Keep your eyes protected during sports. The AOA says that thousands of people get eye injuries from sports every year. Talk to your eye doctor about the right protective eyewear for the sports you play, even if it’s just your work softball team.