Approximately 93 million adults in the United States are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half have visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. Healthy Vision Month, established in 2003 by the National Eye Institute, aims to spread awareness and educate people about the risks of ignoring the health of their eyes.
Our doctors at Ophthalmic Specialists of Michigan strongly encourage you to consider the following tips in observance of Healthy Vision Month.
Find out if you’re at risk for eye diseases
Early detection and timely treatment of eye disease is crucial to saving your vision and keeping your eyes healthy. To prevent eye disease, it’s important to schedule annual eye exams and know your family history, as genetics play a significant role in eye disease. Additionally, you may have a higher risk of some eye diseases if you are overweight or obese, or are African American, Hispanic or Native American.
Pursue a healthy lifestyle
Prioritizing your overall wellness can go a long way toward keeping your eyes healthy. Healthy habits can decrease your risk of developing diseases or conditions that can lead to vision problems.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Consuming dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale, along with foods that are high in omega-2 fatty acids, like salmon and tuna, are good for your eye health.
- Get active: Exercising regularly helps you stay healthy and can lower your risk of conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all of which can cause eye and vision problems.
- Quit smoking: Aside from being bad for your lungs and respiratory system, smoking can damage your eyes, too. It increases your risk of diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts and can harm the optic nerve.
Protect your eyes
Protecting your eyes from harm can be easy. Our doctors urge you to use the following tips to prevent injuries and vision loss.
- Wear protective eyewear: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NISOH) reports that almost 2,000 workers in the United States sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment every day. Experts believe that using the correct eye protection can lower the severity or even prevent 90 percent of these injuries. Safety glasses and goggles should be worn during certain activities, such as construction work, completing home repairs and playing sports.
- Wear sunglasses: Even on cloudy days, your eyes should be protected from the sun. Sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation are recommended.
- Practice 20-20-20: Looking at a computer screen for long periods of time can cause eye strain. Take a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a rest.
- Prevent eye infections: For those who wear contact lenses, it’s vital to wash your hands before putting them in and taking them out. Your contact lenses should be replaced and properly disinfected regularly.
If you have any questions or concerns about maintaining your eye health, contact your ophthalmologist today to schedule an appointment.
National Eye Institute (NEI)