(BPT) - Improving one’s health is a hot topic for the New Year. New diets, the latest fitness trackers and health-centric apps are popping up everywhere. As people show an increased focus on their weight, their cholesterol level or their muscle tone, they often forget that two of their most important organs — their eyes — need to be supported as well.
Fortunately, it's easy to include support for your eye health into your overall fitness plan. Here are five ways to put your eye health into 2020 focus for the New Year.
* Understand your family’s history of eye health and other conditions. There is evidence that many people inherit common eye conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Research also shows that more serious conditions including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration appear to be inherited in some cases. Talk to your family members about any conditions they may have related to their eye health. While these symptoms may not apply to you, this information can help you know what to look for and any potential risks to discuss with your doctor.
* Get your eye exam scheduled early in the year. As part of the American Optometric Association’s #2020EyeExam initiative, the organization and doctors of optometry nationwide are reminding individuals of the importance of an annual comprehensive eye exam.
AOA notes that in-person, annual eye exams can detect early signs of visual system diseases such as glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness. In addition, eye exams safeguard overall health by enabling your eye doctor to detect signs of more than 270 serious health conditions. Using eye insurance can help you cover eye exam costs. One in four people have vision insurance coverage through VSP, with individual or family vision plans that provide affordable access to high-quality eye care and eye wear, typically saving you hundreds of dollars on eye exams and glasses.
* Eat a healthy diet. A well-balanced diet is important not only for managing your cholesterol and weight but for supporting your eye health as well. Leafy vegetables, nuts, eggs, beans, pork and citrus fruits include essential eye health nutrients like lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and zinc. All of these nutrients have been proven to protect against vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.
* Schedule regular visits with your eye doctor. Just as you schedule regular wellness visits with your primary care doctor, you should do the same with your eye doctor. An annual trip to the optometrist ensures you can see your best, and can even lead to early detection of chronic diseases, like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
* Shield your eyes from the effects of digital devices. Prolonged exposure to blue light, emitted by digital devices, can lead to digital eye strain. The symptoms of this condition include blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches and neck pain. Ask your doctor about the best options to defend against eye strain, including lenses with coatings that reflect and absorb blue light.
Focusing on improving your health is a great idea at any time and any age — just make sure your initiative targets your total body health, including your eyes. To learn more about how VSP Individual Vision Plans can provide you with the vision care you need to support your eye health, visit vspdirect.com today.