Stay Healthy To “Save Your Vision”
Our first article in March 2023 focused on Eye Safety and Awareness. This article will focus on things you can do to protect and save your eyes’ health and vision. The American Optometric Association (AOA) has designated March 2023 as National Save Your Vision Month, a campaign designed to promote good eye health. “Save Your Vision” month is held every March to increase awareness about good eye are. The AOA promotes this annual wellness observance focusing on encouraging individuals to get regular eye exams. The National Eye Institute also generate awareness and educate people about the risks of ignoring the health of their eyes.
There are approximately 285 million people globally that are visually impaired, and no access to care. The CDC estimates that about 3.22 million people in the United States have impaired vision and 1.02 million are blind. There are approximately forty million Americans that are at risk for vision loss that could result in total blindness. Approximately forty million Americans are at risk for vision loss that could result in total blindness. Many people assume that because they have good visual awareness, can see well, and assume that they have healthy eyes. This sometimes can be far from the truth. As digital technology becomes more prevalent in our lives there will be more strain on our eyes.
The CDC States That:
- Although older adults tend to have more vision problems, preschoolers may not see as well as they can.
- Just 1 out of every 7 preschoolers receive an eye exam, and fewer than 1 out of every 4 receive some type of vision screening.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends vision screening for all children aged 3 to 5 years to find conditions such as amblyopia, or lazy eye, which can be treated effectively if caught early.
You must take care of your eyes because there are benefits for your overall health. People with vision problems may have/experience the following:
- Poor hearing
- Heart problems
- Poor hearing
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Lower back pain and strokes are more likely to have vision problems.
Approximately 54.2% of people aged 65 and older are blind and 41.7% of those with vision loss say their overall health is fair or poor. Only 21.5% of older Americans without vision problems reported fair to poor health (Source: CDC).
Things You Can Do To Promote Healthy Vision
- Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam
- Keep your blood sugar at a healthy level
- Know your family eye’s health history
- Eat right to protect your eye sight
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Wear protective eye ware
- Stop smoking or never start
- Be cool and wear your shades
- Give your eyes a rest
- Clean your hands and contact lenses properly
- Practice workplace eye safety
- Eat a balanced and healthy diet
- Stay well hydrated
- Reduce your screen time
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
WebMD Guidelines For Taking Care Of Your Eyes:
Eat healthy foods like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E. These nutrients might help defend against age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. Other foods to support healthy vision are:
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, collards
- Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources
- Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
- Oysters and pork
Smoking increases your chances of getting cataracts, optic nerve damage, macular degeneration, and many other medical problems. Focus and visualize the benefit of kicking the habit, and having healthy eyes and good vision.
Wearing sunglasses with the right pair of shades will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure increases your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration.
When selecting a pair of glasses make sure that the blocks are 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Lenses that wrap around protect your eyes from the side and polarized lenses reduce glare while driving.
Contact lenses provide some UV protection and wearing sunglasses will provide an extra layer of protection.
Use Safety Eyewear
Always use safety eyewear when using hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, and wear safety glasses or protective goggles.
Wear eye protection when playing sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse. Sports helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses will protect your eyes.
Looking at a computer or phone screen for an extended period will cause:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
What You Can Do To Protect Your Eyes:
- Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date and good for looking at a computer screen.
- If your eye strain won’t go away, talk to your doctor about computer glasses.
- Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. That lets you look slightly down at the screen.
- Try to avoid glare from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
- Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- If your eyes are dry, blink more, or try using artificial tears.
- Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.
Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Make sure that you and your family see your eye doctor yearly for a comprehensive eye exam. This approach is proactive and could provide insights on potential issues. An eye exam can also find eye diseases like glaucoma which has no symptoms. Spotting this eye disease early is, therefore easier to treat.