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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health


Eye Expert Dr. Emily Chew:
3 Ways to Keep Your Sight

Dr. Emily Chew, M.D.

Dr. Emily Chew, M.D.
Photo courtesy of NIH/NEI

"Keeping your eyes healthy means learning about them and the conditions for which you may be at risk," says Emily Chew, M.D., deputy director of NEI's Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Research. "Early detection and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss. Remember, poor vision is not a normal part of aging."

Get regular eye exams.

One of the easiest ways to keep your eyes healthy is by getting a regular eye exam. Early detection and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss. In fact, the eyes often show signs of other conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, when no other symptoms are present. An eye care professional may be the first to identify one of these problems. If you are at higher risk for an eye disease, it is important to make sure you get an eye exam through dilated pupils. This allows your eye care provider to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for early signs of the disease. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.

Eat a healthy diet.

New research shows that omega-3 fatty acids may protect the retina from wear. The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of your eye that senses light and sends images to your brain. It has one of the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Your mother may have told you to eat carrots, and she was right. These orange veggies are high in vitamin A, a key ingredient to good sight.

Protect your eyes at all ages.

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States. Most injuries are sports-related. Outfit your child with goggles or helmet shields for sports. Protect your own eyes when working with lawn mowers and other tools. Be sure to wear sunglasses to limit the impact of ultraviolet rays from the sun on your eyes.

Summer 2008 Issue: Volume 3 Number 3 Page 15