Most adults start having eyesight issues at the age of 40, and they particularly come into play when reading or looking at computer screens. Presbyopia, or poor vision of nearby objects, is one of the most common eyesight challenges.
Wearing prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses can help improve eyesight, as can getting regular eye checkups to prevent the deterioration of eye conditions or problems.
How to Improve Your Vision
Age is a predominant factor of how well you see. The older you are, the more vision issues you encounter, statistics show.
Obviously, you cannot halt the march of time, but there are things you can do to slow the aging process as it relates to your eyes.
Beyond routine trips to the eye doctor, there is much more you can do to improve your eye health and improve your eyesight. Eating smart, managing your screen time, quitting smoking and using protective eyewear are just some of the ways you can stave off vision loss as you get older.
Eat for Your Eyes
Good vision starts with the food you eat. Your eyes benefit from nutrients like lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins C, A, and E to keep off age-related eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. Healthy sources of these nutrients include:
- Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other oily fish
- Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and collards
- Eggs, beans, nuts, and non-meat proteins
- Oyster and pork
- Oranges and citrus fruits or juices
Eating a well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, lowering the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. These diseases contribute to blindness in adults.
Manage Chronic Conditions
Several health conditions can affect your vision in addition to obesity and diabetes. They include multiple sclerosis and blood pressure. These are linked to chronic inflammation, and their consequences can be severe to your health from head to toe. For example, inflammation of the optic nerve can lead to severe pain and vision loss.
Multiple sclerosis is not preventable, but you can manage it with medications and healthy habits. You can manage high blood pressure with exercise, a heart-healthy diet, and anti-hypertensive medications.
Take Frequent Screen Breaks
If you spend too much uninterrupted time on the screen, you can develop digital eye strain and dry eyes. These two conditions can lead to blurred vision and inhibit focusing.
As a way to improve your eyesight, adopt the 20-20-20 rule recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. That rule is: for every 20 minutes you spend looking at your screen, focus your eyes on an object for 20 seconds. The distance between you and the object should be at least 20 feet.
It would also be helpful to reduce the amount of time you spend looking at digital screens. This will help improve the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Don’t forget to blink regularly as it can reduce dryness and improve your vision while you use your computer screen. You may also use artificial tears to keep your eyes well lubricated.
Other ways to improve vision when working on your computer include:
- Ensuring your eyeglasses or contact lenses prescription is updated and appropriate for computer work.
- Adjust the screen so that your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. At this position, you will look slightly down at the screen to avoid eye strain.
- Avoid glare from lights and windows by using an anti-glare screen whenever possible.
- Sit on a comfortable, supportive chair that lets you rest your feet flat on the floor.
Use Protective Eyewear
It is vital to protect your eye with the appropriate eyewear regardless of the activities you undertake. Whether you are working in the garage, playing baseball, or doing an experimental project in school, the safety of your eyes should always come first.
Tough, protective eyewear comes in handy in situations where there is a risk of sharp objects, chemicals, metal shards, wood shavings, or a stray ball getting to your eyes. Look for protective goggles, most of which are made with polycarbonate. The material is about 10 times tougher than other types of plastic.
Sunglasses fall in the category of protective eyewear and are not just for fancy wear. The right pair of shades will protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much exposure to UV increases the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
The best sunglasses should block at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays. If possible, go for the wraparound lenses that protect the eyes from the side.
Smoking puts your lungs and heart at the risk of disease and endangers your skin, teeth, hair, and every other part of the body. That includes the eyes as well. It increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Other eye problems you expose yourself to when you smoke include:
- Dry eyes
- Diabetic retinopathy if you have diabetes
- Optic nerve problems
- Grave’s disease, which affects the thyroid gland and is characterized by bulging eyes
- Uveitis, a disease that affects the uvea or middle layer of the eyewall
Your eyes and other parts of the body can start the recovery process from years of harm induced by smoking as soon as you quit.
Keep Your Hands and Lenses Clean
Germs and infections increase your risk of eye disease and reduced vision. Anything that irritates your eyes can affect your vision, which is why you should always keep your hands and contact lenses clean.
Continue following your doctor’s instructions for disinfecting your contact lenses. Remember to replace them as advised.
Exercising your body and maintaining a healthy weight is good for your eyes, not just your waistline. Type 2 diabetes and obesity are harmful to the eyes as they damage the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, leading to diabetic retinopathy. The condition causes the small arteries in the retina to leak blood and fluid into the eyes, harming your vision.
Too much sugar in the bloodstream injures the walls of the arteries. Staying fit and having your blood sugar levels checked often can decrease the odds of developing diabetes type 2 and resulting complications.
Exercise Your Eyes Regularly
While exercising the body, don’t forget to exercise your eyes too. Exercise for the eyes is a form of vision therapy that ensures both eyes work together effectively. Vision therapy can help with vision strengthening and address problems like lazy eye, an eye turn, eye tracking and eye teaming.
Examples of helpful eye exercises include the following:
- Pencil push-ups
- Figure eight
Palming relaxes muscles around the eyes and reduces eye fatigue.
- Start by rubbing your hands together to warm them up.
- Close both eyes and place your palms over the corresponding cheekbone.
- Cup the hands over each eye and breathe deeply.
- Do this for five minutes.
The exercise trains the eye to move toward each other or converge when looking at a nearby object.
- Hold a pencil at arm’s length
- Focus on the tip of the eraser
- If the eraser has a letter on it, focus on it until it is legible
- Slowly move the pencil toward your nose while still focusing on the letter
- Once the letter goes double, draw the pencil away and repeat the exercise.
It can be challenging to track an object with the eyes. To make your eyes better in this, practice the figure eight exercise.
- Select a point on the floor with your eyes, 10 feet away from you
- Use your eyes to trace an imaginary number eight on the floor
- Practice for 30 seconds
- Switch directions and repeat
The Bottom Line
You may not have given much thought to things you can do to improve your eyesight, but you are now wiser after reading this guide. Living a healthy lifestyle and protecting your eyes will keep them in good health. You will lower the odds of developing problems that could affect your vision.
What is Presbyopia. (Reviewed Jan 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Obesity and Eye Disease. (June 2009). National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Can You Prevent Multiple Sclerosis? (November 2021). Everyday Health.
How Does the 20-20-20 Rule Prevent Eye Strain? (Date Not Available). Advanced Eye Care Aesthetics.
How to Create the Optimal Work Environment to Reduce Digital Eye Strain. (October 2018). Icare Vision Centers.
Safety Glasses and Protective Eyewear. (Reviewed March 2019). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Smoking and Eye Disease. (Reviewed January 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Smoking Can Lead to Vision Loss or Blindness. (December 2009). Department of Health.
What are Contact Lenses? (Updated July 2019). National Eye Institute.
8 Easy Eye Exercises to Improve Vision: Techniques and Tips. (July 2021). KRAFF Eye Institute.
Last Updated February 26, 2022
Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.