Hindsight is always 20/20, and many Americans reflect on what more they could have done to save their vision. March is National Save Your Vision Month, which will shed light on how a digital device’s blue light can affect your overall vision. With the dependence on computers in today’s workplace, a strain on eyesight is more common than ever. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 20 million Americans suffer from severe vision loss. However, with technology improving to protect and study your eyes, having better vision is more accessible than ever. Follow these eight easy tips to save your sight!
- Wear Sunglasses – While this seems like a simple suggestion, pay special attention to the percentage of UV-A AND UV-B rays that your shades block. While any protection can prevent retinal damage, your sunglasses should protect from 100 percent UV rays. Sunglasses can also protect the delicate eyelid skin, which will prevent wrinkles and skin cancer.
- Don’t Smoke – Smoking is linked to multiple health issues, including age-related macular degeneration. Current smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to develop this degeneration over those who have never smoked. Smokers are also at risk to develop cataracts.
- Get your Vitamins – Impaired retinal function can stem from vitamin deficiency. Carrots are a popular food suggestion to improve vision, but even leafy greens can complement this improvement. Those on diets with higher levels of vitamins C and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are less likely to develop early and advanced age related macular degeneration.
- Examine Often – Beginning at age 40, adults with no risk for eye disease should get a baseline eye exam, as this is around the age that changes in vision and disease may begin occurring. The ophthalmologist will then decide how often one should receive follow-up exams. If you have a family history of eye disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, you may want to see an ophthalmologist sooner. Early intervention will help prevent vision loss later.
- Protect and Prevent – According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the U.S. every year. It is important that while playing sports or participating in a home project, you wear proper eye protection to prevent injury.
- Study some history – Your family history can say a lot about how well you will see in the future. Eye diseases are generally genetic, and age-related diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration will continue to increase in the next several years.
- Care for your Contacts – If you have been prescribed corrective lenses and choose to wear contacts, make sure you use them as instructed. Sleeping in some contacts that are not approved for overnight wear, using water as a moistening solution, or using disposable contacts beyond their wear can result in ulcers in the cornea, pain, and vision loss.
- Look away! – Eye fatigue is increasing yearly. Remember the 20:20 rule – after looking at your work for twenty minutes, look away at an object approximately 20 feet away for twenty seconds. If you continue to have eye fatigue, see your ophthalmologist. It could be a sign of dry eye, presbyopia, or lenses that aren’t properly centered.
If you do not have an ophthalmologist, UAB Medical West can help! Simply call the UAB Medical West Physician Referral line at 996-WEST to find an ophthalmologist that is right for you.