Healthy Vision Month is an annual observance that aims to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of our eyes and the risks of neglecting our eye health.
Sight is one of our most important senses, and our eyes play a crucial role in our daily lives. They allow us to see and perceive the world around us, making it possible to read, drive, and enjoy the beauty of nature. Unfortunately, many people neglect their eye health, which can lead to various eye conditions and even permanent vision loss.
This year, Healthy Vision Month is focused on family and vision health for all ages. The US Preventative Service Task Force recommends vision screenings for all children aged 3-5 years, but only 1 in 7 preschoolers receive an eye exam. At Mann Eye Institute, we offer screenings and care for patients aged 6 years and older.
Some common eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration can cause vision loss and early detection can help with prevention. Many of these conditions have no symptoms or warning signs, so it is important to get yearly eye screenings with your eye care professional.
Here are some tips on how to maintain good eye health:
Scheduling regular eye exams are crucial for maintaining good eye health, even if you think your vision is perfect. An eye exam can detect early signs of eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, which can be treated more effectively when caught early.
Protect your eyes from UV radiation: The sun’s UV rays can damage your eyes over time, leading to cataracts and other vision problems.
Protect your eyes at home and on the job: Make sure to wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home, such as painting, yard work, home repairs, and always practice workplace eye safety.
Follow a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly those that contain vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
Take breaks from digital devices: Staring at a computer, tablet, or smartphone screen for extended periods can cause eye strain and fatigue, leading to headaches, dry eyes, and other vision problems. To reduce the strain on your eyes, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Quit smoking (or don’t start!): Smoking is linked to an increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases. Quitting smoking can help protect your eyes, as well as your overall health.
Practice good hygiene: Washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your eyes can help prevent the spread of infections that can cause eye diseases such as conjunctivitis.
Know your family history: Many eye diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts have a genetic component, meaning they can be passed down from one generation to the next. Having a family history of eye disease can help your eye doctor identify your risk factors and tailor your eye exams accordingly. Knowing your family history of eye disease can also help you take steps to reduce your risk of developing these conditions.