Simply put, it is of the utmost importance that we take care of our eyes. Poor vision makes it almost impossible for everyone to read, drive, cook, or do what may seem routinary to people with perfect vision. Since May is Healthy Vision Month, CDC’s Vision Health Initiative (VHI) and the National Eye Institute, as well Arizona ophthalmologists and those in other states, are encouraging Americans to prioritize healthy vision.
The good news that many would be glad to hear is that many eye problems and diseases can be treated if caught early. To make sure you keep seeing clearly, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam regularly. If you haven’t had an exam for some time, schedule one this month. An eye care professional will examine your eyes for signs of vision problems or eye diseases. It’s the best way to find out if you need glasses or contacts, or are in the early stages of a serious but treatable eye disease.
Did You Know?
- Vision impairment becomes more common as people age.
- The number of Americans 40 years and older with diabetic retinopathy and vision threatening retinopathy will triple in 2050; from 5.5 million to 16 million and from 1.2 million to 3.4 million respectively.
- Women, minority groups, and people with chronic diseases like diabetes may be at higher risk for having vision impairment.
- While some eye problems, like cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration, can cause vision loss and even blindness, others, such as refractive errors, are common problems that can be easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
The Power of the Dilated Eye Exam
Early diagnosis means early treatment, which is why eye exams are always recommended by leading Arizona ophthalmologists. To have an idea of what to expect from a dilated eye exam, read below::
- Your eye care professional will place drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye—the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room.
- This process offers a good look at the back of the eyes, so they can be examined for any signs of damage or disease.
- Your close-up vision may remain blurry for a few hours after the exam.
Caring for the Eyes
The best option is to keep your eyes as healthy as possible throughout your lifetime. Here are some of the best ways you can take care of your precious eyes:
- Get regular, comprehensive dilated eye exams, as recommended by any of the Arizona ophthalmologists.
- Know your family’s eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition, since many are hereditary.
- Eat right to protect your sight—in particular, eat plenty of dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens, and fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, albacore tuna, trout and halibut.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home such as painting, yard work and home repairs.
- Quit smoking, do not start at all.
- Wear sunglasses that block 99% – 100% of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
- Clean your hands prior to taking out contacts and be sure to cleanse your contact lenses properly to avoid the risk of infection or other eye problems.
- Practice workplace eye safety.