This month marks Healthy Vision Month, a yearly celebration of eye health and a reminder to take proper care of your vision. During this month, the National Eye Institute (NEI) recommends following these five eye health guidelines.
Get a comprehensive, dilated eye exam
Most individuals who wear glasses or contact lenses receive annual eye exams, if only to make sure that their prescription hasn’t changed – however, even people who DON’T need vision correction should regularly meet with eye care professionals. Many common eye disease – for instance, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease – have no early symptoms, making vision checkups essential. In addition, some individuals don’t even recognize that their vision would benefit from glasses or contact lenses until meeting with a doctor.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Eating healthy food is an excellent way to protect your vision. According to NEI, dark leafy greens (e.g., spinach and kale) and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., salmon and tuna) can do wonders for eye health. Staying in shape is also important, since both diabetes and hypertension can elevate the risk of eye disease or even blindness. Smoking should also be avoided, as it greatly increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness.
Learn your family history
Since many eye disorders are heredity, use the month of May to ask your family members about their eye health history. Don’t only ask about your siblings and parents – also consider the eye health history of your grandparents, aunts, and uncles. If you are predisposed to any genetic eye conditions, make sure to meet with your doctor to discuss precautionary measures.
Wear protective eyewear
Every year, thousands of people have job-related or sports-related eye injuries. Many of these injuries can be prevented by wearing the proper protective material. NEI recommends protecting your eyes with safety glasses, goggles, safety shields and eye guards when playing high-risk sports (e.g. racquetball) or working in a dangerous environment. Protective eyewear should be made of polycarbonate, a material that is significantly stronger than other plastics.
Sunglasses aren’t only about fashion or comfort – they’re also an essential tool to keep your eyes safe from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) waves. Exposure to the UV light increases the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium, a tissue growth on the surface of the eye that can lead to astigmatism.
For more information about Healthy Vision Month, check out NEI’s official webpage. For information about how Intermountain Eye Centers can help keep your eyes healthy year round, contact us for a comprehensive, dilated eye exam today.