May is Healthy Vision Month, a national eye health observance established by the National Eye Institute (NEI) in May 2003. From the moment you wake up until you go to bed at night, your eyes are working to bring you the world. In fact, they deliver 80% of the information you take in every day — about your loved ones, your job, and all the things you love to see and do! That’s why it’s so important to keep them healthy and safe.
Approximately 37 million adults in America have age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma, all of which can cause visual impairment or blindness. However, recent studies show that making healthy choices and getting regular eye exams can help reduce a person’s risk of vision loss. Early detection and timely treatment of eye disease are key ways to prevent vision loss and blindness. Many people who are at risk for vision loss do not know it.
A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a painless procedure in which an eye care professional examines your eyes to look for common vision problems and eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help you protect your sight. An examination of the external parts of your eyes: the whites of the eyes, the pupils, iris, eyelids, and eyelashes. As you age, you are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions.
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. 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.</p>
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. More than 40 million Americans use contact lenses to improve vision; 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.
Regular physical activity comes with a lot of great benefits. It can boost your mood, reduce stress, help you stay at a healthy weight — and protect you from serious eye disease! Anything that gets your heart beating faster — like taking a quick walk or dancing — can help keep your eyes healthy. Taking care of your eyes also may benefit your overall health. People often notice changes in their vision as they age, but vision loss should not be one of them.