As a police officer, you know you have to work to maintain your health to be able to give 100 percent to this demanding job. While working out, drinking plenty of water and eating healthy meals is fantastic, there are other parts of your body that need to be considered in a comprehensive health plan. With that in mind, it’s time to focus on your eyes.
Eyes Are Sensitive
“Eyes are a sensitive organ capable of carrying out incredible things, such as blinking within milliseconds and healing themselves with amazing quickness. As people age, vision-related problems become more prominent and progressive. This means it’s important to take care of your eyes from a young age to keep any potential vision issues at bay for as long as possible,” said Kimberly Menzie, O.D., an optometrist at Kelsey-Seybold’s The Woodlands Clinic and Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center.
Dr. Menzie offered the following tips to help maintain eye health.
Visit your eye doctor regularly. You might think your vision is fine and your eyes are healthy, but having a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to be sure. “Many eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. An eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages,” Dr. Menzie said.
Know your family’s eye health history. It’s important to know if any family members have been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye problem.
If you wear contacts, use them only as directed. This means not sleeping in them or leaving them in too long and throwing away your lens case every few months and replacing it with a new one. “Disinfect contact lenses as instructed,” Dr. Menzie added.
Wear protective eyewear. When protective eyewear is required as part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times to help avoid eye injuries. Wear sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation on and off duty. Outside of work, wear appropriate protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home.
Take a break from your computer screen. Just as you wouldn’t put too much strain on your muscles, you don’t want to put too much strain on your eyes. Every 20 minutes, get up and walk around. If you can’t, then stare at a point 20 feet away from you for at least 20 seconds to give your eyes the break they need.
Don’t smoke. “Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness,” said Dr. Menzie.
Following these tips may help you prolong your eye sight. Make an appointment with your eye doctor to see what they suggest for your individual health. Dr. Menzie is accepting new patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s The Woodlands Clinic in Shenandoah and at the Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center. Schedule an appointment with her by calling 713-442-0000.
Best Foods for Your Eyes
Carrots used to be the old standby for maintaining your eyesight, but eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale or collard greens, is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too.
Research has found that dark berries, cold-water fish and green leafy vegetables all contain a carotenoid that helps to protect against macular degeneration. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut, have also been shown to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels within your eye, which could lead to healthier vision in the long run.