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Most of us have resolutions to improve our health in 2013. Lose weight, eat healthier and quit smoking are just a few. But did you ever think to include your eye health as a resolution? We’re guessing most likely not. However, you may want to reconsider taking care of your vision as one of the most important resolutions to keep.

5 Ways to Improve my Eye Health

Sight is our most critical sense. Did you know that Americans have consistently identified fear of vision loss as second only to fear of cancer in public opinion polls conducted over the past 40 years? Additionally, there are currently 38 million Americans age 40+ who have experienced blindness, low vision or an age-related eye disease and this number is expected to grow to 50 million by year 2020.

How do you avoid being part of the statistic? We complied a list of 5 ways to ensure you won’t miss out on seeing anything this 2013, and for years to come.

1. Have Your Eyes Examined

At King LASIK, we know how important eye exams are. That’s why our physicians routinely perform pre- and -post operative eye exams to 1) determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK and 2) to preserve healthy eyesight. However, deciding whether or not LASIK is right for you is not the only reason to schedule an eye exam. An eye exam can lead to early detection of potential vision problems and other general health problems. Schedule yours today; most can be obtained free or low of cost, depending on your health care provider.

2. Obey the 20/20/20 rule

In today’s world, we are always looking at our computer, iPad, cellphone and TV. Repetitive stress injury (RSI) and eye strain are more common than ever. With all our gadgets, it’s difficult to remember to take a break to allow your eyes to relax. The 20/20/20 rule suggests that after every 20 minutes, you should take a break for at least 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet away from you. Sounds easier said than done, right? That’s why there are a couple of different tech programs that make it easier for you to remember. For Mac users, we recommended Time Out and for Windows, EyeDefender. These programs are free, and are great tools for both LASIK and non-LASIK patients looking to reduce strain on their eyes.

3. Get Moving

We all know we should exercise to promote overall physical health, but did you know that it can also prevent eye disorders? According to a 2011 scientific study published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, higher levels of physical exercise appear to have a long-term beneficial impact on low ocular perfusion pressure (OPP), an important risk factor for glaucoma. Glaucoma is often left undetected for years, and can lead to permanent blindness. Work up a sweat three or more times per week, and you can dramatically decrease these chances.

4. Eat More Antioxidants

There are plenty of super foods that pack a punch for good eye health. Vitamin A and carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, anthocyanidins, selenium and zinc are all found naturally in food and have positive benefits for your eyes. We found a handy list of the top 10 foods that have the most benefit for your eyes. It’s no surprise that carrots top the list, but sweet potatoes and salmon also made the cut.  A final option is to take an antioxidant supplement that will provide similar benefits. Start now by eating nutritious and vitamin-rich foods to reduce the risk of eye disease, improve sight, and maintain good health.

5. Break out the Shades

During the winter in the Pacific Northwest, we may not see the sun for days (sometimes even weeks.) However, regardless if the sun is shining or the weather is dreary, it’s still important to wear your sunglasses. Make sure to look for quality shades that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light. Also, if there is snow in your area, remember that snow acts like a mirror and doubly exposes your eyes to UV rays. In addition to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, sunglasses also prevent wrinkles. So wear ‘em!

Not everyone with vision problems is a candidate for LASIK surgery.  That’s why we encourage all patients that come through our doors to take care of their eyes. The best way to determine if you’re a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery is to come in and find out for yourself by scheduling a free consultation. Make your eyes a priority this 2013, we don’t want you to miss out on anything in the future.