February is a great time to show your eyes some TLC.
Patients often ask me how they can protect their eyes. So here are my top 7 ways to care for your eyes.
#1 Eye Protection – Wear eye protection when doing yard work, using power tools, fishing or shooting. Whenever you are around fast moving objects like grinders, or you are using chemicals make sure to wear eye protection.
#2 Sunglasses – Wear your sunglasses! The Sun’s UV rays can cause damage to the eyes resulting in eye growths, irritation, and contributing to cataracts and macular degeneration.
#3 Don’t Rub – Try not to rub your eyes. Itchy eyes can drive you crazy! If your eyes itch it may be allergies or inflammation due to bacteria. To help with the itching right away use cold eye drops or place a cool towel across your eyes. In the long run you will want to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist for an exam.
#4 Give Your Lenses the Night Off – If you wear contact lenses, do not sleep in them and make sure to follow the care instructions. Infections due to contact lens wear can be very serious. Change out your cases and fluid as recommended. Always use sterile contact lens solution to clean your lenses, do not use tap water or homemade solutions.
#5 Lubricate – Dry eye is common and can feel like you have sand or grit in your eyes, and can cause watering and burning. Try over the counter artificial tears. If symptoms continue see your doctor. Omega 3’s can help as well.
#6 Take Care of Your Health – Your eyes are impacted by infections, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. If you are diabetic do your best to keep your sugars level and on target. Diabetes causes damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the eye and can result in vision loss.
And, of course…
#7 See your optometrist or ophthalmologist every 1-2 years or as directed by your doctor!
A little tender loving care goes a long way. Keep Loving those Eyes!!
Dr. Erin Seefeldt is a board certified ophthalmologist and residency program director who has published and presented nationally. She is committed to improving vision care and vision rehabilitation services.