Healthy Eyes and Ears

Don’t let vision and/or hearing loss slow you down.

Vision and hearing loss can happen as you age. Other problems with your eyes and ears can happen as you work and play. Prevention, early detection, and proper treatment for injury or disease to your eyes and ears will help you enjoy independence and a better quality of life.

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your eyes and ears stay healthy.

Get Your Eyes Examined.

Have Regular Dilated Eye Exams.


This is the best thing you can do to make sure your eyes are healthy, and you are seeing your best. Your eye care professional will tell you how often you need to have one.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 39, discuss with your doctor when you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Get a baseline exam at age 40, then every 2 to 4 years (or as your doctor advises) until age 49. Have an exam every 2 to 4 years until age 55, then every 1 to 3 years until age 65, or as your doctor advises. At ages 65 and older, get an exam every 1 to 2 years.

People at higher risk for eye diseases need to be examined more often. For example, adults with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam at least once a year. African-Americans over age 40, people with a family history, and everyone over age 60 are at higher risk for glaucoma and should have a dilated eye exam every 1 to 2 years. Eye diseases often have no warning signs in their early stage and can only be detected by an eye care professional.

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays when outdoors. Choose sunglasses with 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, to block both forms of ultraviolet rays.

Wear protective eyewear, such as polycarbonate safety glasses, safety goggles, or face shields, when working outdoors or with materials that can harm eyes and when playing sports.

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens, is important to keep your eyes healthy.

Reduce eyestrain by adjusting your computer monitor appropriately, taking rest breaks when working on a computer, and sitting upright with your feet flat on the floor when working on a computer.

Prevent hearing loss from noise.

Use Protection When You Are Around Loud Sounds.


Prevent hearing loss from noise. Pay attention to sounds around you that are at or above 85 decibels, such as concerts, fireworks, or lawn mowers. If you are around loud sounds for too long, wear earplugs or move away from the sound.

Get a hearing exam every 10 years between the ages of 18 and 49 and every 3 years after that.

Prevent ear infections. You can help prevent upper respiratory infections—and a resulting ear infection—by washing your hands often. Also, get a flu vaccine every year to help prevent flu-related ear infections.

Ask your doctor if your medicines may hurt your ears. Some medicine (like certain antibiotics) can damage hearing.

Be careful when listening to music through headphones. Many devices that people use today have noise levels much higher than 85 decibels. For example, an MP3 player at maximum level is roughly 105 decibels. Scientists recommend no more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to sounds that are 100 decibels. In addition, regular exposure to sounds at 110 decibels for more than one minute risks permanent hearing loss.


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