Celebrate Save Your Vision Month 2012 by Keeping Eyes and Vision Healthy
When March comes the first thing that comes to mind is St. Patrick’s Day. Do we even know that March is also the Save Your Vision month?
Yes, Save Your Vision Month is really a national observance that was started years ago and is held every March with the aim of increasing awareness regarding good eye care. The shocking truth is that all most all of us take our vision for granted. This national observance focuses on educating people on the need for regular eye exams especially these days when computer has become an integral and part of our daily life, whether at home or at work. This means that the risk of eye strain and damage is even higher than before.
Unfortunately, many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms. Making it doubly important that we a have a yearly comprehensive eye and vision exam to ensure that we have a healthy vision and eyes now and in the future. We may have a misconception that good vision means good eye health. It may be a start but it is not always the case.
Experts say that by 2020, 43 million Americans will be at risk for significant vision loss or blindness from age-related eye diseases including cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
With the expanding technology come new aids in detection and prevention as well as diagnosis and treatment that doctors of optometry can use with their patients. High-tech tests and procedures are much less invasive and highly accurate diagnosis can be expected. Aside from regular and comprehensive eye checkup, people should learn to properly care for their eyes and vision in order to have healthy eyesight. Here’s how:
Routine and comprehensive eye check up.
Regular eye checkup is important to ensure a healthy eyes and good vision. According to American Optometric Association, children should have an eye exam as early as 6 months old, then at 3 years old and just before starting school. Let us not wait for the time when something has gone wrong before seeing a doctor. Remember that more than 80% of what children learn in school, especially the first 12 years of life, is presented visually. Good vision practices are critical since good vision is directly linked to their growth, development and academic success. Check chart below to see frequency of examination based from Good Vision Throughout Life by the American Optometric Association (AOA).
The Snellen eye chart test is not the eye checkup. Although ophthalmologists and optometrists, the healthcare professionals in lab coats specializing in the eyes, uses eye chart to measure visual acuity and as part of the standard of care, still there are so many new advances in eye care technology, new procedures and treatments such as retinal imaging and corneal topography, that are now prevalent in a comprehensive eye exam.
Feed your eyes.
Balanced healthy diet is important for overall healthy well-being and that includes healthy eyes and good vision. In fact, having the right amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet is vital to maintaining healthy eyes and vision. There are of course specific food items that can ensure good natural eye health and vitamins A, C, and E are important since these are excellent sources of anti-oxidants. Although we have been told over and over again that carrots is the ultimate source of vision-enhancing vitamins, you may not know that there are other vision-boosting vegetables such kale, spinach and sweet potatoes.
Two other anti-oxidants are very important to healthy eyes and these are: Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These are naturally found in vegetables can be found in yellow peppers, mango, bilberries, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and chard. Zeaxanthin can be found in broccoli, orange sweet peppers, sweet corn, spinach, lettuce oranges, tangerine and eggs. Two essential fatty acids – Omega-3: DHA and EPA have been suggested to be essential for optimal visual development. It has also been suggested that daily intake of zinc through diet, nutritional supplements, or fortified foods and beverages is important for the maintenance of good eye health. Here are some recipes for healthy eyes.
Nutritional supplements can help restore the nutrients at optimum level necessary and vital to maintaining your eyes healthy. If the natural sources you take in are not sufficient enough to give you the necessary and the optimum level then supplements are essential. Just make sure that you consult your doctor before you take one especially if you are taking other medications.
Have a healthy lifestyle and habits.
One of the most important things you can do to save your vision is to quit smoking. Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of noxious chemicals and increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Smoking also causes the constriction or shrinkage of blood vessels which is directly linked to rising inner eye pressure that can lead to glaucoma. Conclusive evidences have also shown that smoking causes nuclear cataracts.
Wear sunglasses. Children should be taught the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays when outdoors. Limiting their indoor activities such as TV, computer, and video games and pushing them to more outdoor and other physical activities that would exercise their body and help in their physical development.
Use of proper protective eye gear is vital in minimizing the risk of injury when performing dangerous tasks especially in the workplace.
Exercise your eyes.
Diet and exercise are two of the most frequently recommended advices that healthcare professionals in medical lab coats give their patients. Eating healthy is important and so is exercising your body since it is actually one of the cheapest, easiest and effective ways to reduce your risk of developing diseases. Exercise is not simply going to the gym but should be a whole-body effort that would benefit all the organs and muscles and improve blood circulation, increase oxygen levels to the eyes and help in the elimination of toxins. The eyes should be relaxed and exercised especially when you are constantly infront fo the computer. Proper eye exercise relieves eye strain, helps restore perfect blood flow in the eye area, strengthens eye muscles and improves vision.
Image Source: American Optometric Association