Many people use the new year as a time to set new goals and refocus their priorities. Why not make eye care a top priority in 2018?
More than 23 million Americans suffer from vision loss, and a loss of vision is one of the biggest health-related fears in the United States. While not all eye diseases can be prevented, there are simple steps that everyone can take to help their eyes remain healthy now and reduce their chances of vision loss in the future.
Here are five ways to safeguard your vision in the new year:
- Schedule Your Annual Comprehensive Eye Exam. A comprehensive eye exam should be your first step when crossing off your eye-related resolutions. A comprehensive eye exam can determine your risk for major eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, which has no early warning signs or symptoms. An eye exam can also ensure that your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses is up to date, helping you see more clearly and potentially reducing eye strain symptoms.
- Know Your Family History. Be aware of your family's health history. Do you or any of your family suffer from diabetes or have a history of high blood pressure? Are you over the age of 65? Are you an African-American over the age of 40? Any of these traits could increase your risk for some sight-threatening eye diseases. Being able to answer family history questions will help your doctor customize their exams to your vision needs.
- Be Aware of Eye Fatigue. If you spend a significant amount of time in front of a computer screen or doing close work, you may experience eye fatigue. Consider the 20-20-20 rule: Look up from your work every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If eye fatigue persists, it can be a sign of several different conditions, such as presbyopia, dry eye, or eyeglasses with lenses that are not properly centered. You’ll want to see your doctor to determine why you are having eye fatigue and to receive proper treatment.
- Wear UV Protective Sunglasses. UV blocking sunglasses can delay the development of cataracts, since direct sunlight hastens their formation. Sunglasses also prevent retinal damage and protect the delicate eyelid skin from both wrinkles and skin cancer around the eye. Check your sunglasses for 100 percent UV protection, and be sure to wear them year round!
- Eat a Balanced Diet. Eating a healthy diet isn’t just good for your body - it’s good for your eyes, too. Numerous studies have shown that antioxidants can possibly reduce the risk of cataracts. These antioxidants are obtained from eating a diet containing plentiful amounts of fruits and colorful or dark green vegetables. Studies also have shown that eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration.
As you write your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to keep your eye care goals in sight. And if you’re unsure how to go about caring for your vision, just ask the experts! At Everett and Hurite, our staff can assist you with questions and other eye concerns you may have or best practices for taking care of your eyes. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!