March is Save Your Vision Month! One of the most common questions that I get as an optometrist is, "What can I do to make sure that my eyes remain healthy?" So what a better fitting month that to write a blog about what you can do. Follow these simple rules and the odds are in your favor that you will have amazing eyesight the rest of your light.
1. Get a Comprehensive Eye Examination Every Year!
This sounds pretty obvious, but you wouldn't believe how many people don't! I often hear, "My vision is 20/20 so I don't need to go to the eye doctor." A comprehensive eye examination test much more than your vision. In fact, our average examination is 30 minutes, and only 5 minutes is spent testing the vision. The rest is about checking the health of the eyes and other aspects that can keep them healthy. Every year Visualeyes Optometry checks for glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases that can lead to blindness. The sooner our optometrists find anything wrong, the easier it is to help you! So get your eyes check today!
2. Wear Protective Eye Glasses!
This means two things:
Wear Sunglasses when you are outside. It is very important to wear lenses that protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays, especially here in Southern California! UV is not just present when there is sun. It is even present during overcast days. So always have those sunglasses on when you are outside. At Visualeyes, we have a machine to determine if they are UV coated or not, so bring them in to be 100% sure that you are protecting those eyes.
Also, safety glasses are very important. If you have any occupation or hobby in which you are working with items such as dirt and debris can become airborne, you should be protecting your eyes. Particular incidents include in construction, welding, and other jobs in which something can get into the eye. Also, according to the American Family Physician, more than 40,000 eye accidents happen every year. Basketball and baseball tend to the most dangerous sports. As many as 90% of these incidents could have been avoided if proper eyewear was used.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet, Including Tons of Green, Leafy Vegetables and Fish
Everyone thinks that carrots are the only way to get healthy eyes and vision. Sure they are full of beta-carotene and Vitamin A, but there are other foods out there that are much better.
The best foods out there are green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale. Not only do these foods have the Vitamin A, but they also contain powerful antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are not made in the body, so we need to obtain them somehow in our diet. They are very important in protecting us in many eye diseases like macular degeneration. Make sure you are eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day!
Fish and other foods high in Omega-3s. These are the "healthy" fats that help with the retina and preventing us from having dry eyes. This is important in Southern California, where the environment causes the majority of us to have some form of dryness.
Eating a general balanced diet is also important to protect us from diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all which can cause vision problems!
4. Practice Health Screen Times
Increased screen time, including cell phones, tablets, and computers are leading to a whole new group of problems when it comes to the eyes.
First, the blue light that is emitted from these devices can cause damage to the retina, possibly leading to macular degeneration. It is important that we use lenses that protect us from the blue light. This means both patients that need to wear glasses and those that don't!
Also, the time that is spent with these devices are causing problems with our focusing systems that can lead to headaches, eye strain, and general eye fatigue. Do you eyes feel tired at the end of the day after working on these devices? You may need a small prescription to help you see more easily. It is also important that you take more breaks throughout the day. We call this the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, you should take a 20 second break and look more than 20 feet away. This helps you relax your eyes so they are not working as hard. During this time blink your eyes, get up and stretch, close your eyes and relax. Make sure you set an alarm or timer to remind yourself to take these breaks. You may not realize how quickly 20 minutes goes by when you are deep in your work!
5. Kick Cigarettes in the Butts
Cigarettes have so many bad effects on our entire bodies, and our eyes are not immune to the problems that they cause.
Cigarettes have been known to cause early formations of cataracts, macular degeneration, and wrinkles around the eyes. Many resources are available at Visualeyes to help you kick this habit.
BONUS: Practice Health Contact Lens Habits
Please, Please, Please listen to our optometrists and follow all directions when it comes to the use of contact lenses. Replace them when you should and take them out every night. Use the proper solutions prescribed to clean and disinfect them. Always wash your hands before you put the contact lenses in or take them out. Corneal ulcers, pink eye, and even blindness can occur should you try and outsmart these small plastic medical devices! If you are not sure of the correct use of them, please call our office.
Sticking to all of these rules will definitely ensure that we keep your eyes as healthy as they should be! Remember to call our office and schedule your appointment today!