We all enjoy May in Connecticut because that usually means the weather starts getting nicer and we can spend more time outside. May is special for another reason, too! It’s Healthy Vision Month, as designated by the National Eye Institute (NEI) in an effort to increase awareness of the importance of taking steps in our lives to protect our eye health and vision.
If your vision seems fine, it’s easy to take it for granted, but your eyesight and eye health are precious and should be protected. As we age, our risk for vision loss from eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts goes up, but even younger people can face sight-threatening scenarios caused by diabetes and high blood pressure.
What are steps we can take in our everyday life to protect and maintain our eye health and vision? In honor of Healthy Vision Month, we will share tips on how you can safeguard your eyes and your vision.
Get proper and adequate nutrition.
Our first recommendation is to look at your diet and make sure you’re eating eye-healthy foods. Eat plenty of fruits and colorful or dark green vegetables! They can help you keep your eyes healthy. The American Optometric Association states that researchers have linked eye-healthy nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc, to reducing the risk of certain serious eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. You can find these antioxidants in green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and a lot of other foods.
Get regular exercise.
We all know that exercise has positive benefits for our physical and mental health, but did you know it can benefit your eye health, too? You should aim to exercise at least three times each week.
By keeping your blood pressure under control, you can reduce your risk for hypertensive retinopathy, which can be sight-threatening. If you have diabetes, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions on how to keep it under control, and regular exercise is part of that plan. Uncontrolled diabetes over time can cause an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy, and that can eventually lead to loss of sight.
Smoking is terrible for your health and affects every part of your body, including your eyes. Smokers have an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. If you have dry eye disease, smoking can worsen your symptoms. If you smoke, work with your doctor to create a plan to ditch the habit for good.
Protect your eyes from the sun.
We all love going outside during the beautiful late springs and summers here in Connecticut! Don’t forget to wear quality sunglasses that block 100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays when you spend time outside or when you’re driving, though. The sun can be very harmful to your eyes over time.
Ask us about our options! Everyone should wear quality sunglasses, including babies, children, and adults. Wear a wide-brimmed hat if you’re going to be outside for a while to provide extra protection from the sun’s UV rays.
Wear protective eyewear when appropriate.
If your employer requires you to wear safety glasses while on the job, please do so consistently. Eye injuries often happen while playing sports, too, so don’t neglect to secure and wear the appropriate eyewear for whatever sport you’re playing. If your kids play sports, make sure their eyes are protected too.
Eye injuries also happen at home, while people are doing yard work or do-it-yourself projects. Wear safety glasses if you’re doing things that can injure your eyes! Protecting your eyes from injury is one of the best and simplest things you can do to maintain your eye health and vision.
Pay attention to changes in your vision.
If you notice that things seem blurry or your vision is less sharp, give us a call and schedule an eye exam. You may simply need an updated prescription for your eyeglasses or contact lenses to see your best, but there may be other issues you’re not aware of causing the change which can only be diagnosed during an eye exam. If you develop sudden eye pain, see flashes of light, or see a sudden increase in the number of eye floaters, give us a call right away, as these can be symptoms of a serious problem that needs immediate attention.
Get Regular Comprehensive Eye Exams
Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect your eye health and vision is to maintain a regular schedule of comprehensive eye exams and care. Even if your vision seems fine, some eye diseases and conditions have no symptoms in the early stages, and the only way to catch them early is through a comprehensive eye exam. Eye exams are important not only for your eye health but are an important part of your overall health care. Your eyes are a window to your health and your eye doctor can spot issues that may be happening elsewhere in your body through an eye exam.
Our Goal is to Help You Maintain your Eye Health and Vision
If it’s been a while since your last comprehensive eye exam, please schedule an appointment with us. We are here to help people of all ages in Shelton and Waterbury maintain their eye health and vision, and we look forward to helping you, too!