It is important that your eyes stay healthy because you’ll need good vision for just about every activity you choose—and you want to keep your 20/20 vision for many years to come. When you see well, you can perform well—on the ball field, in class, behind the wheel or at your desk. That’s why it’s important to take a few simple steps to make sure you keep your eyesight at its best.
Just like you visit the dentist to maintain your teeth, the best protection for your vision is through regular professional eye examinations. You may be at special risk for eye problems if there is a family history of eye disease. Of course, if you notice a change in your vision —or your eye is injured in any way— you should contact your eye care professional.
What Can I Do To Help My Eyes?
There are many things you can do to prevent injuries and maintain eye health during your teen years. Eating the right foods, not smoking, limiting your computer time, and wearing protective eye wear during sports are important things you can do. Learn more:
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. A healthy balanced diet containing a wide selection of fruits, nuts, and crunchy vegetables are important for healthy eyes.
- Avoid junk food - An unhealthy diet high in fat can cause deposits that constrict blood flow in the arteries. The eyes are especially sensitive to this, given the small size of the blood vessels that feed them.
- Exercise improves blood circulation, which improves oxygen levels to the eyes and the removal of toxins.
- Get a good night’s sleep. It’s tough to fit everything into your schedule, but you’ll feel the difference when you get the sleep you need. You’ll look great, you’ll perform better in class and on the go—and good rest will support the health of your eyes.
Wash your hands
Keeping your hands clean becomes more important than ever when it comes to your eyes, especially if you’re a contact lens wearer. When you touch your eye, whatever is on your fingers goes right onto your eye’s surface. This is one way that people catch colds, by rubbing their eyes while they have cold virus germs on their hands.
Some germs and bacteria that come from your hands can cause eye infections, like bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye). Before you touch your eye—and especially before you put in or remove a contact lens—wash your hands with a mild soap and dry with a lint-free towel.
Hairspray and Cosmetics
Here are some simple rules to help you keep your eyes safe while you’re working on your look.
- If you wear contact lenses, be sure to put them in after you use your hairspray.
- Put in your contacts before applying your make-up, to avoid contaminating your lenses with the residue from foundation or powder on your fingers. Of course, it’s also much easier to apply your make-up when you can see clearly!
- Lotions, powders and gels with bits of glitter look cool—but those tiny, shiny specks can get into your eyes and cause irritation and problems with your contact lenses. After applying glittery gel, be careful not to touch your eyes—and wash the glitter off your hands right away.
On the Computer
You’re doing most class assignments on a computer, looking at the screen for hours at a stretch. Once your homework is done, you’re IM-ing friends, chatting on facebook, watching YouTube videos, or participating on your favorite discussion board. Maybe you’re hitting the arcade to play video games, or you’re watching TV or playing computer games on your Wii, DS or Gameboy.
All of these things take a toll on your eyes—and maybe you’ve already noticed that your eyes feel dry and gritty by the end of the day.
Here are some tips to help:
- Keep your computer screen within 20"-24" of your eye.
- Keep the top of your computer screen slightly below eye level.
- Minimize the distance between your computer screen and any documents you need to reference while working.
- Adjust lighting to minimize glare on the screen.
- Take a break every 15 minutes to focus on a distant object.
- Use lubricating eye drops to soothe irritated, dry eyes.