What’s your vision for healthy eyes? This May is the National Eye Institute’s Healthy Vision Month. Dedicate some time this month to review your eye health. Determine if there are any changes you should make to ensure your vision of a healthy future.
A Future So Bright You Need Sunglasses
As the weather warms up, you may find yourself spending more time outside. Grab your sunglasses before you leave the house- they are an important way to protect your eyes from UV rays. Just like overexposure to UV rays can damage your skin, it can also cause damage to your eyes. This contributes to diseases like cataracts, pterygium, and macular degeneration. Sunglasses aren’t just for adults, either. Most people get 80 percent of their lifetime UV exposure by the time they are 18.
Luckily you can protect your vision and look good while doing it. Choose glasses with 100 percent UV protection. Polarized lenses are a good choice for those who spend a lot of time outdoors or who are light sensitive. They filter intense reflected light, reducing glare. Polarized lenses also improve visual clarity, making them the choice of boaters, golfers, and those who spend lots of time on the road. If you wear glasses regularly, another option is transitional lenses. Transitional lenses are normally clear and darken automatically when exposed to UV light. They provide 100 percent UV protection and are a great, cost effective choice for those who wear glasses.
If you aren’t sure if your lenses provide 100 percent UV protection, visit our optical department in any of our three locations for help. Our opticians use new technology to show the areas UV exposure on your face and what is protected by your lenses. They can determine if your current lenses offer full UV protection. All of the clear and tinted lenses stocked by Dr. LoBue provide 100 percent UV protection.
Protective Lenses for a Healthy Future
Sunglasses aren’t the only protective lenses important for keeping your eyes safe. As the weather warms up, people spend more time engaged in outdoor activities. Protective lenses shield your eyes from physical harm such as foreign bodies or contact with damaging chemicals. It’s important to wear appropriate safety glasses while working with wood, metal, or other home improvement projects. Safety glasses are also available in prescription and sunglasses to better suit your needs. For some sports, protective goggles may be more appropriate. Swimmers should wear goggles to avoid getting water in their eyes. The chemicals used in pools and microorganisms found in water can irritate eyes or even cause infections.
Eye protection doesn’t end at the front door. Extended computer use has been linked to a condition called digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome. Common symptoms include headache, dry eye, eye strain, and difficulty focusing. Avoid computer vision syndrome by reducing your screen time. Giving your eyes a break from the monitor or the phone screen is the best option. If you can’t get a break, remember the 20-20-20-rule: for every 20 minutes of screen time, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
A Vision of a Healthy Lifestyle
Many eye conditions are associated with poor health. Although there are other, unavoidable risk factors such as age and family history, we can’t deny the role overall health plays in protecting or damaging or vision. The risk for cataracts and macular degeneration increases for patients that smoke, are obese, or have high blood pressure. Diabetes is a condition that presents its own risks for eye health. Diabetics must be screened for macular edema and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic patients also increase their risk for cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. The risk increases when diabetes is poorly controlled.
Work with your doctor to create a health improvement plan that works for you. A healthy diet tailored to your specific needs and and beginning an exercise routine is an excellent starting point. Small changes can make a big difference! Smokers who commit to quitting reduce their health risks immediately and continue to see health improvements the longer they go without smoking. Living a healthy lifestyle is especially important for people managing chronic conditions such as diabetes. Patients with these conditions should keep regularly scheduled appointments and follow treatment plans prescribed by their doctors. Discuss your condition and care plan with your doctor to better understand how to stay at your healthiest. The healthier you are, the healthier your eyes will be.
See Your Eye Doctor
Whether you feel it’s time for a glasses prescription or not, you should consider a visit to your eye doctor. Many people avoid eye exams since they don’t wear glasses. However, a comprehensive exam is like a physical for your eye. Testing the pressure and dilating the eye for a complete exam allows your doctor to check for many conditions, including:
- macular degeneration
- diabetic changes
In many cases, regular exams can catch these diseases before a patient even notices symptoms. Early detection allows for the best treatment plans. If you have family history of eye disease, remember to discuss this with your doctor.
Call us today at (951) 696-1135 to schedule your exam or walk in to one of our three locations to talk to an optician about choosing the right pair of sunglasses for you.