May – Healthy Vision Month
Consider me biased, but I think that VISION is the most important of our 5 senses. While I would never want to lose any of my senses, I simply cannot imagine going through life without the ability to SEE. It is heartbreaking to me to encounter someone who does not have, or loses, the ability to see because vision is so precious and important. Just the other day I saw a little girl walking the neighborhood with her mother and I noticed something that really hit me. She was walking with probing cane (the kind used for vision impairment). This little girl does not have the gift of sight (for whatever reason) and likely may never. Having children that are similar in age really made me emotional, knowing that we all too often take things (like our EYESIGHT) for granted.
So since May is HEALTHY VISION MONTH, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on what I consider important for supporting and maintaining healthy eyes for a lifetime of clear vision.
- PROPER NUTRITION: We all know that a healthy diet is important for keeping our bodies healthy, right? So why would it be any different for our eyes? Proper nutrition, including fruits and vegetables, can not only help maintain healthy eyes, but can also help prevent (and in some cases treat) some eye conditions. The eyes require lots of nutrients to fuel the very active cells in our eyes and it is important that we offer those cells good nutrients. If we do not, then we may experience eye conditions that can affect our vision.
- STOP SMOKING: Like proper diet, it is common knowledge that smoking can be very dangerous for our health. It is a leading cause of various cancers and pulmonary diseases. It is also the #1 modifiable risk factor for a very serious eye condition called MACULAR DEGENERATION. Did you know that? When anyone who smokes is diagnosed with macular degeneration, we immediately recommend that that person to stop smoking. There is also a connection between smoking and the development of cataracts and dry eye.
- EYE PROTECTION: An important aspect of maintaining healthy eyes is PROTECTION. Think about the daily activities that we encounter (work, recreation, sports, outdoors, home improvement, etc) and how a small mishap can cause major injury. Many dangerous occupations require (Z87 stamped) safety eyewear be worn while on the job. Those same safety glasses can be deployed for eye protection while tackling that Honey Do List (cutting grass, home repairs, etc). Sports injuries are very common pose a real and dangerous risk to the eyes. We often recommend that sports-specific safety (ASTM approved) eyewear be worn in lieu of normal glasses. And for outdoor activities we always recommend sunglasses for the visual and UV protection benefits they provide.
- “LISTEN” TO YOUR EYES: If you suspect that something is wrong with your eyes, get it checked out as soon as possible by your eye doctor. Don’t wait for it to become a bigger problem. Some eye problems can be treated effectively if detected in a timely manner. Unusual blur, loss of vision, pain, redness, light sensitivity, or discharge are all symptoms of potential problems with your eye health and must be attended to.
- REGULAR EYE EXAMINATIONS: Just as is the case with other healthcare specialties, regular eye examinations are recommended for EVERYONE. The American Optometric Association recommends that children as young as SIX MONTHS ought to receive a comprehensive eye examination. Many primary care optometrists and ophthalmologists are able to perform routine eye exams on just about anyone, including infants and special needs patients. Regular eye exams are vital to maintaining sharp vision and to properly detecting eye conditions.
So as we count down the days to summer, remember to boost your diet, stop the bad habits, protect your eyes with proper eye wear, and seek professional eye care to maintain healthy eyes and perfect vision. I look forward to a fun and safe summer time and hope you do too.