Of the five senses – sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound – which would you least be willing to give up? We’re willing to bet most of you would choose your vision. But if we consider our vision so precious, why do we take such poor care of it – neglecting proper examinations and regular eye care? Since May is Healthy Vision Awareness Month, we would like to offer some tips for maintaining healthy vision.
Have your vision tested annually, and do not settle for the cheapest basic screening you can obtain. We offer a thorough evaluation of all areas of vision, as well as testing for eye disease. Many common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration, often display no symptoms. Dilating the eyes is the only way to discover these diseases in their early stages.
A comprehensive eye exam can also detect medical conditions such as tumors, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, liver disease, and autoimmune disorders such as lupus and multiple sclerosis. With one thorough eye exam, we can check for all of these diseases. Early detection can lead to quicker treatment and delay the onset of symptoms in many cases.
- Maintain a healthy weight.Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and other conditions that can lead to vision loss, such as glaucoma or diabetic eye disease.
- Eat healthy foods. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly carrots and dark leafy greens, as well as fish with omega 3-fatty acids, is important for eye health.
- No smoking.Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.
- Manage chronic conditions.Many conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis, can greatly impact vision, resulting in inflammation of the optic nerve, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and even blindness. Staying on top of your condition with the help of your doctor can often prevent eye problems from occurring.
Wear proper eye equipment at work and when playing sports. In the United States alone, there are nearly 2,000 job-related eye injuries daily, and every 13 minutes, someone goes to the hospital with a sports-related eye injury. Protecting your eyes with the right eyewear can prevent those injuries from happening – that includes safety glasses, goggles, safety shields, and eye guards made of polycarbonate.
Wear sunglasses that block out 99 to 100% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays to protect your eyes. The sun can affect your vision negatively, particularly in the form of:
- Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that can blur vision. An estimated 20% of cases are caused by extended UV exposure.
- Macular degeneration, resulting from damage to the retina that destroys central vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
- Pterygium, a tissue growth over the white part of the surface of the eye that can alter the curve of the eyeball, causing astigmatism.
If you have never had a comprehensive developmental vision examination, then you have never had all areas of your vision tested wholly. The Snellen eye chart was developed 150 years ago and is for distance vision only (20 feet away). Grabbing the butterfly wings will not check your 3D vision properly. The state of Illinois requires only 3 of the 17 skills necessary for near (reading) vision to be tested in school screenings.
When have you had your vision or your child’s vision checked for eye teaming, visual perception, eyes tracking together across a page, fine and gross motor skills, eye-brain connection, visual comprehension, visual memory, eye alignment, focusing near and far simultaneously and sustaining focus? The answer is probably never, and if not, you do not know if your child’s vision is optimal for reading, doing homework, using a laptop, or even understanding schoolwork. You do not know if your vision is favorable for working on a computer, driving a car, reading for enjoyment, or helping your child with homework.
If you schedule a developmental evaluation with us, we will check ALL areas of your vision completely. If we discover aspects of your vision that are lacking, we have multiple options for treatment and improvement. If we diagnose or suspect disease, we will refer you to a specialist.
For more information on any of the 2015 Healthy Vision Awareness focus topics or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call. Our goal is to help you achieve the healthiest vision possible.