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According to Meg Jay, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of The Defining Decade, the foundation you build in your 20s will define the rest of your life. While career goals may be an obvious concern of 20-somethings, one aspect easily overlooked is the importance of vision care during this decade.
Although most vision problems in young adults can be improved by wearing corrective lenses, it is crucial to understand the importance of preserving your vision for the future. Five areas to consider during this decade are sun exposure, smoking, digital eye strain, food intake and overall eye health.
- You’ve likely heard the speech on the importance of sunscreen; however, many don’t realize the damage to eyes caused by UV rays and the necessity of wearing sunglasses year-round to prevent permanent damage. The first tip to healthy eyes is picking out shades that protect your eyes, such as Xperio UV which has an E-SPF index of 50+, and never leaving the house without them.
- Like UV rays, smoking is a practice that is widely known to put a person’s health at risk. What many do not realize is that smoking cigarettes also directly impacts eye health. Smoking not only makes existing eye problems worse, but also increases your risk for cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal diseases that lead to vision loss. Secondhand smoke also puts your eyes at risk, so whether or not you are the one with the habit, you need to be aware of the effect that smoke has on your eyes.
- In today’s technology-filled world, it is no surprise that 1/3 of adults spend most of their waking hours on digital devices. Digital eye strain is bound to happen in these settings, causing eye strain, blurred vision, dry eyes, and even back pains and headaches. If you’re experiencing vision problems from computer use, ask your doctor about a blue-light blocking lens such as Crizal Prevencia. Using tips like the 20-20-20 Rule can alleviate these symptoms and prepare you with the best practices for keeping your vision protected from digital screens in your many years to come.
- Diet is another important factor in preserving vision health. Eating foods rich in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc can boost your eye health. Common foods with these nutrients include carrots, spinach and eggs, among many others. Overall health goes hand-in-hand with a nutrient-filled diet, and managing your cholesterol and blood pressure can also improve your eyesight.
- Last, but definitely not least, is the importance of scheduling an annual eye exam. Dr. Rachel Bishop of National Eye Institute makes a great point, stating, “Without that eye exam we can’t identify a problem and treat it. So much of blindness and vision loss is preventable, but the key is early detection.” Keeping your prescriptions up-to-date and detecting eye problems early are crucial for eye health, and can only be accomplished by seeing your eye doctor regularly.
Your 20s are defining years not only in your career path, but also for your vision health. Make sure to evaluate these five areas of your life to preserve your eye health and develop habits that will serve you for a lifetime.