Eye Health Info for Those Under 40

January 11, 2021

When thinking about eyesight-related illness, many of us will visualize an older person, especially since cataracts develop with age. However, it is not just older people who suffer from problems with vision. For people under 40 years old, establishing healthy routines to maintain good eye health is essential.

Maintaining Eye Care

Being proactive about eye care starts at a very young age. Parents should equip their babies and children with sunglasses outdoors, encourage them to look far away from screens every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds, and feed them a healthy diet. That diet should include the following:

  • Foods that are rich in zinc, omega-3, and lutein
  • Foods containing vitamin A, C, and E or supplements
  • Dark green leafy vegetables

As people age, they should continue to maintain this type of diet. They should also exercise regularly to improve oxygen flow to the optic nerve and try to get eight hours of sleep every night. In addition to this, smoking increases the risk of eye conditions, and so should be avoided.

Eye Examinations

You should undergo eye exams frequently to monitor changing prescriptions and check for abnormalities. A child should undergo their first eye exam at six months old, and then again at three and five years of age. After that, it is every other year until they turn eighteen, if they have no other risk factors.

Adults should have an eye exam every other year from ages 18-60, provided that they have no risk factors. After 61 years old, the appointments should be annual.

Eye Injuries

Eye-related conditions due to aging seem to be inevitable, but many eye injuries are preventable. If you play sports, be sure to wear protective goggles, glasses, or visors every single time you play. These protective measures should also be in place at some workplaces or while performing certain tasks around the house.

If you have had anything unusual happen to your eyes, such as a poke, scratch, or punch, you should see an ophthalmologist as soon as you can for a checkup. If you start to notice signs such as pain or flashing lights, you need to get to an emergency room or hospital asap. This could be a signal that you have a detached retina, which will need to get repaired right away.

SMILE, Lasik, and PRK Surgeries

Once you have reached your early 20s, your eye prescription should have stabilized. At this point, some people choose to undergo corrective laser eye surgery. Depending on the severity of your prescription, your doctor may advise you to choose one procedure over the other options.

To qualify for the surgery, most surgeons require that you be in good overall health, have thick corneas, and have no history of dry eyes, among other factors. This will minimize the risks of the procedure as much as possible. As with all surgeries, there will still be risks that you should discuss with your ophthalmologist or optometrist beforehand.

Final Word

It is important to remain aware of your eye health so that you can ask the right questions to your doctor. It is your job to keep your eyes as healthy as you can for as long as you can. If you notice any unusual symptoms relating to your eyes, it is better to get them checked out just in case.