5 Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy this Summer

06/09/2016 04:43 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2017

June is National Cataracts Awareness Month, so there's no time like the present to take the steps necessary to ensure proper vision health. All too often, the gift of vision is something we take for granted, and beginning around the age of 40, the risk of cataracts increases.

With the start of summer come long, sunny days, outdoor adventures and excessive sunlight exposure. The strongest rays of the day are generally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but instead of staying inside this summer, here are five ways to keep your eyes healthy in the summer sun:

1. Healthy Diet - According to the website Health.com, protecting your eyes starts with the food on your plate. Regularly eating foods that are nutrient-rich with omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins C and E can help fight off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. By regularly eating leafy green vegetables, fish, eggs, nuts and citrusy fruits, you can be sure you're ingesting enough nutrients to support your eye health. Before you head to the supermarket, check out the Grocery Coupon Center to save on healthy food options, which can unfortunately be more expensive than processed meals and snacks.

2. Proper UV Protection - From polarized sunglasses to wide brim hats, be sure to properly accessorize your eyes and face before stepping into the bright summer sun. You can save up to 30 percent on a pair of trendy new glasses from LensCrafters® and save an additional $5 off the best in-store offer. Here's a tip: choose sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays to help protect your eyes. Polarized lenses also help in reducing glare while you're driving.

3. Abstaining from Smoking - Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and the leading cause of blindness in the world. Amongst numerous other negative effects smoking has on your health, it also increases your risk of cataracts. Not only are smokers much more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers, they are also at risk of developing cataracts at a younger age.

4. Regular Doctor Visits - Visiting your eye doctor regularly can help protect your eyes from diseases and disorders; many ailments are preventable and can be corrected if detected early on. The American Optometric Association recommends annual eye exams for everyone over the age 60, and bi-annual exams for adults between 41-60 years to check for developing eye or vision problems. Getting an eye exam can be convenient and done around your busy schedule; Target Optical and Sears Optical provide efficient and affordable optical exam services with skilled optometrists who can help answer any questions you may have about your eye and vision health.

5. Eye Inclusive Health Insurance - It's estimated that more than half of all Americans need vision correction, but there are millions more who are not seeing life to the fullest because they do not have corrective eyewear. AARP® MyVision Care provided by EyeMed makes eye insurance and eye exams easy, affordable and accessible. Additionally, all AARP members are eligible for exclusive discounts available at several retailer locations including LensCrafters, Target Optical, Sears Optical, Pearle Vision, Glasses.com, JCP Optical and the Independent Provider Network.