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Tips For Keeping Your Eyes In Tip-top Shape

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - Any time of year can be the right time to take a look at how  you can maintain the health of your eyes.

The good news is that there are  simple steps you can follow to keep your eyes healthy and make sure you are  seeing your best.

Here are some tips from the experts at the National Eye Institute at the  National Institutes of Health.

• Have a comprehensive  dilated eye exam. Visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive  dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure your eyes are healthy.  Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and  age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs.

• Know your family’s  eye health history. Talk to your family members about their eye health  history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an  eye disease or condition since many are hereditary.

• Eat right to protect your  sight. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark  leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, is important for  keeping your eyes healthy. Research indicates there are also benefits from  eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut.

• Maintain a healthy weight.  Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and  other conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as  diabetic eye disease or glaucoma.

• Wear protective eyewear.  Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the  home or in the workplace. Make a habit of wearing the right type at all  times.

• Quit smoking or never  start. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing  age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage, all of  which can lead to blindness.

• Be cool and wear your  shades. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet  rays. Look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B  radiation.

• Give your eyes a rest.  If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you  sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20  rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20  seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.

• Clean your hands and your  contact lenses—properly. Always wash your hands thoroughly before  putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Disinfect contact lenses as  instructed and replace them as appropriate.

To learn more, visit www.nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes.