March is Save Your Vision Month. While you may think that having good vision means that your eyes are healthy, that may not always be the case. Getting your eyes checked regularly by an eye doctor can ensure that you not only have great vision, but that your eyes are healthy too. Getting an eye exam is the first step that you need to take to save your vision.
Vision plays an important role in daily life – every waking minute, the eyes are working hard to see the world around us. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) annual American Eye-Q® survey, 40 percent of Americans worry about losing their eyesight more than their ability to walk or hear.
Routine eye exams are important for everyone, no matter what your age is or physical health is like. For most of you, think of it as a regular check up to ensure your eyes are healthy and that there are no early signs of eye disease. Some eye diseases have no physical symptoms early on, so getting an eye exam is the only way to detect them and treat your eyes before your vision gets affected.
Below are some sight-saving tips:
Schedule yearly comprehensive exams
Eye care should begin early in life. Eye exams not only help you achieve great vision and healthy eyes, they can also help detect systemic diseases earlier. Your eye doctor can detect systemic health issues such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. During an eye exam, your eye doctor has an unobstructed view of the blood vessels in your eyes. This allows your eye doctor to see signs of these chronic health conditions that you may have.
So make sure you save your vision and take the time to book an eye exam this month if you haven’t already had an eye exam this year!
Protect against UV rays
Long-term exposure to the sun poses significant risk not just to your skin, but to your eyes as well. No matter what the season, it’s extremely important to wear sunglasses, choosing a pair that blocks more than 95 percent of UV-A and more than 99 percent of UV-B radiation. You can find more information here.
Give your eyes a break from digital device use
Two-thirds of Americans spend up to 7 hours a day using computers or other digital devices such as tablets and smart phones. This constant eye activity increases the risk for computer vision syndrome (CVS) and can cause problems such as dry eye, eyestrain, headaches, neck and/or backache, and fatigue. Thomas Eye Group recommends that people practice the 20/20/20 rule (every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away).
In addition, a poorly designed computer station can also contribute to digital eyestrain. Be sure to correct factors such as improper lighting or uncomfortable seating, viewing angles and reading or working distances to eliminate visual stress and discomfort. A helpful diagram on how to set up your desktop computer/laptop can be accessed here
Eat your greens!
As part of a healthful diet, eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day—particularly the leafy green variety. Six nutrients ? antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc ? have been identified as helping to protect eyesight and promote eye health. Since the body doesn’t make these nutrients naturally, it’s important that they are incorporated into a daily diet and, in some cases, supplemented with vitamins. The Golden Eye Optometry website offers more details about diet and nutrition.
Practice safe wear and care of contact lenses
More than 40 million Americans use contact lenses to improve vision; while some adhere to the medical guidelines for wearing contacts, many are breaking the rules and putting their vision at risk.
Contact lens wearers who don’t follow their optometrist’s recommendations for use and wear can experience symptoms such as blurred or fuzzy vision, red or irritated eyes, pain in and around the eyes or, a more serious condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed, also known as keratitis.