Healthy Vision Month
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3.4 million Americans 40 years of age or older are blind or visually impaired. For most of us, a decline in vision and eye health is not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, many vision problems could be avoided through simple prevention measures and routine eye exams. Focusing on a healthy lifestyle and protecting your eyes from outside elements (UV rays) are some of the best ways to protect your eyes and vision.
Even if you lead a healthy lifestyle and do not currently have any eye issues, it is still important to have your vision checked each year. According to the CDC, nearly one in five adults in the US are at high risk for serious vision loss, however, only half visited the eye doctor in the past 12 months.
It’s easy to neglect your eye health when there aren’t any noticeable issues. However, some eye diseases can go unnoticed or have no symptoms at all. Visiting your eye doctor regularly can help detect any issues early on, which may prevent vision loss. For the most up to date information, check the CDC, National Institute of Health, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and Mayo Clinic recommendations.
Nutrition for Eye Health
A healthy diet can keep our vision and eyes functioning properly. To ensure you are getting in all the necessary nutrients, focus on eating a balanced, plant-forward diet rich in vegetables, fruit, healthy fats and fish.
Wearing Sunglasses and Protective Gear
Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement. They are your eyes’ primary defense against UV sun rays. A high-quality pair of shades should block out 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays.
In the United States, approximately 20,000 work-related eye injuries occur each year. Avoid unnecessary risk by wearing goggles, safety glasses, safety shields and other protective gear while on the job and working at home.
Rest Your Eyes
As technology continues to advance, the amount of time we spend looking at computer screens, smartphones and other electronic devices goes up each year. It is estimated the average American’s screen time is between 10 to 12 hours a day. This type of chronic screen exposure can tire our eyes out and eventually lead to eyestrain.
If you are unable to cut down on screen time, make sure to rest your eyes by taking frequent breaks. One technique you can use to break up screen time is the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you look at a screen, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Things to keep an “eye” on:
- Get regular checkups with your eye doctor based on your age, medical conditions and life stage
- Focus on leading a healthy lifestyle: proper nutrition and physical activity
- Quit smoking
- Wear quality sunglasses that block 100% of ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation
- Know your family’s eye health history
- Practice proper eye safety (at work, playing sports, working in the yard)
- Wash your hands before removing contacts or touching your eyes
- Give your eyes a rest – practice the 20-20-20 rule