In May 2003, the National Eye Institute (NEI) established the celebration of Healthy Vision Month. This annual month-long event aims to create awareness as to why vision should be a health priority for every American. It focuses on educating people about how to maintain eye health and the importance of detecting and treating eye conditions early.
Healthy Vision is Essential to Quality of Life
“Your eyes are your windows to the world. Learn how to keep them healthy and safe,” according to NEI.
Proper eye health should be prioritized because healthy vision is essential to quality of life. If you have optimal vision, you will get to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings and take part in activities without eye conditions inhibiting you.
However, millions of Americans still suffer from different eye diseases and legal blindness. Partly, these conditions are caused by failure to prioritize eye health. With lifestyles too fast-paced, most people tend to get caught in the hustle and bustle of their routines that eye care ends up being neglected.
This month, aside from participating in different programs in your community, you can take part in the event by simply promoting good eye health and vision practices within your household.
NEI outlined five ways on how you can do so. Let’s look at each of them.
- Schedule regular dilated eye exams.
Some eye conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease don’t manifest early symptoms, but with regular dilated eye exams these disease can be easily diagnosed and treated at its onset.
During a dilated eye exam, drops will be applied to your eyes to dilate the pupil. With magnifying lens, the doctor will look into your retina to detect any damage or signs of an eye problem. Blurred close-up vision is normal after the test and may last for up to a few hours following the procedure.
How often dilated eye exams should be done is a case to case basis. The only way to know for sure is to discuss with your doctor.
- Live a healthy lifestyle.
How healthy your eyes are will also be dependent on how healthy your lifestyle is. If you want to keep your vision sharp, here are practical and healthy habits you should follow.
Maintain an ideal weight
Obesity is a risk factor for health conditions that can affect the eyes. Diabetes and glaucoma are some of the diseases that can result from being overweight.
Including nutritious food such as fruits, green leafy vegetables and fishes rich in Omega-3 is beneficial to the eyes. Make sure that you get sufficient servings of these food staples, so that your eyes can get proper nourishment.
Smoking is a major risk factor for certain health conditions such as cancer. Just the same, it also has a link to certain vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration, optic nerve damage, and cataracts.
If you are suffering from any health condition, manage them accordingly
Certain conditions can have a direct impact to your vision and eye health. If you are suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis, you need to work closely with your doctor so that you can prevent these diseases from progressing and affecting other parts of the body such as the eyes.
- Take a look at your family history.
Some eye conditions are hereditary. So take a look at your family’s health history and see if there’s any occurrence of eye conditions that are passed on through your bloodline.
Examining your family’s health history is a good way to determine your risk. Doing so will help you be aware of your chances of incurring certain eye conditions. Disclose your health background to your eye doctor, so that you will be advised on what measures you can take in order to lessen your risk for vision-related conditions.
- Use protective eye wear.
Every year, it is estimated that eye injuries in the United States are about 2.4 million, and using protective eye wear can prevent 90% of them, statistics show. More so, the NEI reveals that 2,000 workers suffer from job-related injury everyday and that an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury every 13 minutes.
Protective eyewear such as safety glasses, goggles, and eye guards are made of durable materials that can withstand impact and protect the eyes from getting injured. These protective gear are typically prescribed for people working in construction or industries that may put their eyesight at risks, as well as for individuals who engage in sports.
When consulting with an eye doctor, mention the type of industry that you work in or the kind of recreational activities you frequently take part in. This way, your doctor can determine if you need to wear some sort of protective eye gear and prescribe the right type for you.
- Wear sunglasses.
Sunglasses is a popular fashion accessory. Aside from keeping you in trend and giving an oomph to your look, sunglasses are also necessary for protecting your eyes.
Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from UV rays, which can cause different eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. It’s advisable to go for sunglasses that has 99-100% protection for both UVA and UVB. Other accessories that can also protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun are hats and caps.
During healthy vision month, it’s high time to put extra attention to the importance of eye health. As this event goes on, learn about as much as you can about your eyes, so that you develop habits that will help preserve your vision not just this month but all-year round.
Part of proper eye care is finding the right eye doctor to work with. Arizona Retinal Specialists have expertise in different vision care treatments that address different eye conditions. They offer individualized care for every patient, which ensures that treatment will be tailored around a person’s unique needs. If you want to know more about their services, please give them a call or visit their clinic in Sun City West Arizona.