Eye Health Is My Health—Celebrate Healthy Vision Month!

This July for Healthy Vision Month 2020external icon, CDC’s Vision Health Initiative is partnering with the National Eye Institute to put a spotlight on the connection between eye health and overall health.

As you get older, your risk for some eye diseases increases. The good news is there is a lot you can do now to prevent eye problems.

Many things you do to keep your body healthy can help you keep your eyes healthy too. Think about it like this: eye health is my health! That’s right—protecting your vision starts with caring for your overall health and well-being.

exercise weights and a salad

Exercise and eating healthy can help lower your risk for health conditions that cause vision loss.

Try 6 Tips for Healthy Eyes—and a Healthy You

  1. Add more movement to your day. Physical activity can lower your risk for health conditions that can affect your vision, like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. As a bonus, it can help you feel your best. Pick activities you enjoy and remember, anything that gets your heart beating faster counts!
  2. Get your family talking… about eye health history. Some eye diseases—like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration—can run in families. Although it may not be the most exciting topic of conversation, talking about your family health history can help everyone stay healthy. Ask your relatives if they know about any eye problems in your family. Be sure to share what you learn with your eye doctor to see if you need to take steps to lower your risk.
  3. Step up your healthy eating game. Eating healthy foods helps prevent health conditions—like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure—that can put you at risk for eye problems. Eat dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens that are high in antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Also pick up some fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like halibut, salmon, and tuna.
  4. Stay on top of long-term health conditions—like diabetes and high blood pressure. Diabetes and high blood pressure can increase your risk for some eye diseases, like glaucoma. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, ask your doctor about steps you can take to manage your condition and lower your risk of vision loss.
  5. If you smoke, make a quit plan. Quitting smoking is good for almost every part of your body, including your eyes! That’s right—kicking the habit will help lower your risk for eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Quitting smoking is hard, but it’s possible—and a quit plan can help. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support.
  6. Give your eyes a rest. Looking at a computer for a long time can tire out your eyes. Follow the 20-20-20 rule—rest your eyes by taking a break every 20 minutes to look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Make Eye Health Part of Your Health Care Routine

close up of woman getting eye exam

Routine eye exams are key to protecting your vision.

Seeing an eye doctor is the best way to keep tabs on your eye health. Many eye diseases don’t have any early symptoms, so you could have a problem and not know it.

Your eye doctor can tell you how often you need a dilated eye exam. A dilated eye exam is the only way to catch eye diseases early, when they are easier to treat—and before they cause vision loss. Ask your eye doctor what is right for you.

If you need help finding an eye doctor that you can trust, start by asking your friends and family if they like their doctor. You can also check with your health insurance plan to find eye doctors near you.

Explore Personal #EyeHealthIsMyHealth Stories

Being healthy means something different to everyone. That is why the National Eye Institute collected stories to show how people prioritize and protect their health and vision.

Explore their inspiring personal storiesexternal icon—and consider sharing them with your friends and family! You might just motivate others to take steps to protect their vision—now and in the future.