By Dr. Steven A. Nielsen
The holidays are in full swing, characterized by the hustle and bustle of celebrations, traditions and last-minute shopping. The days are gone before we know what hit us, and suddenly, it’s the new year. Now is the time to examine the goals and changes we would like to make in our lives, especially regarding our physical health and wellness.
When was the last time you visited your dentist or your physician for routine — and essential — health evaluations? And what about your optometrist or ophthalmologist?
It has been said that our eyes are the windows to our general health and well being. Often, we wait until we are having difficulty with our vision before we see our eye doctor. Be proactive. Start off the New Year with action and energy, and schedule your medical appointments.
In the meantime, here are some helpful tips for maintaining good eye — and good overall — health:
•Have a yearly eye exam.
•In conjunction with this, know your own family eye health history. This will assist both you and your eye doctor in understanding what may be expected, even if it is down the road.
•Eat right. This is something that we hear over and over again. What we eat and the supplements we take not only affect our overall health, but the health of our eyes, as well. Foods that boost eye health include: fish, leafy greens, eggs, whole grains, citrus fruits and berries, nuts, colorful vegetables and fruits, legumes, sunflower seeds, oils rich in omega 3 (fish, flaxseed, currant) and beef, in moderation.
•Get enough sleep. As silly as it sounds, it isn’t just our bodies that need to rest. Our eyes do too, especially considering the amount of time we spend looking at brightly-lit screens consistently throughout the day. While computers, tablets and smart phones are important tools for the way we function, they can also cause great strain on our eyes.
•Use sunglasses, even in the winter months. The reflection of light created by the sun hitting the fallen snow creates a tremendous amount of eye strain and sensitivity. It also causes us to squint, which when done consistently, leads to wrinkles.
•Take time to relax and mediate. Again, not only is this important for your mental health, but also does wonders in reducing eye fatigue.
•Exercise. Good for the body, the mind, and yes — the eyes. You don’t have to train for a marathon, or bike your way across town. Simply get up and out. Incorporating some type of exercise, no matter your situation, will improve your general well-being.
Steven A. Nielsen is the chief ophthalmologist at The Nielsen Eye Center. To schedule a consultation or examination with Dr. Nielsen, call 617-471-5665 daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com