By Michael Vovakes, MD
Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for healthy eyes.
* Have a complete eye exam — visit your eye care professional and have a full exam of your eyes that includes drops to dilate the pupil.
* Know your family’s eye health history — some eye diseases can run in families
* Eat right to protect your sight — not just carrots, but other fruits and vegetables and fish high in omega fatty acids are very good for your eyes
* Maintain a healthy weight — being overweight or obese increases your risk for diabetes and other conditions that can affect your eyes
* Wear safety glasses — when playing sports, working with tools, or other activities, wear protective glasses, goggles, or shields
* Don’t smoke or, if you do, quit — smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body
* Be cool and wear your shades — sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays
* Give your eyes a rest — if you spend a lot of time in front of the computer or looking at a screen, try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds
* Clean your hands and your contact lenses — wash your hands before handling your contacts or touching your eyes and clean your contacts as instructed
* Be safe at work — wear protective eyewear if it is required at your job and encourage your coworkers to do the same
— Dr. Vovakes is the regional medical director of Partnership HealthPlan of California, a non-profit community based health care program that provides quality care to over 430,000 Medi-Cal recipients. Beginning in Solano County in 1994 PHC now provides services to 14 Northern California counties — Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo.