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Seven Tips from Coastal Jersey Eye Center to Safeguard Your Vision

More than 20 million Americans suffer from severe vision loss. While not all eye diseases can be prevented, here are some simple steps to maintain healthy eyes now and reduce your chances of vision loss in the future.

1. Get an eye exam – Adults with no symptoms or risk factors for eye disease should still have regular checkups. At least half of all adults need glasses. Many eye diseases start off without any symptoms.

2. Early intervention – Serious conditions including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration (AMD) are more easily and successfully treated when treated early. Left untreated, these diseases can cause serious vision loss and blindness.

3. Know your family history – Many eye diseases cluster in families. Obtain regular checkups with a family history of cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

4. Don't smoke – Everyone knows that smoking causes many serious health problems, including heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, etc. Less well known, though, is that smoking is linked to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

5. Wear sunglasses – Ultraviolet radiation has been linked to the development of cataracts and AMD. They also protect the delicate eyelid skin, lessening the risk of skin cancer and aging changes (wrinkles).

6. Eat right – Vitamin deficiency can impair retinal function. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale help in the treatment of AMD.

7. Contact lens care – Follow instructions regarding the care and use of contact lenses. Misuse, such as sleeping in contacts not approved for overnight wear, or using saliva or tap water as a wetting solution can result in severe infections and permanent vision loss.