Steps to Protect Your Vision
Dr. Henry Wiley, Staff Clinician at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
(Washington, DC, Tuesday, May 12, 2015) – When it comes to our health, we often visit our doctor regularly to make sure our bodies are healthy. But what about our eyes? They’re not always top of mind, but they’re just as important.
During Healthy Vision Month, held each May, the National Eye Institute encourages Americans to make their eye health a priority and provides information about steps they can take to protect their vision.
Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam
Getting a dilated eye exam is the most effective way to know if your eyes are healthy and you’re seeing your best. During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, drops are placed in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and look for signs of damage and other eye problems. Many common eye diseases have no warning signs but can be detected early with a dilated eye exam. That makes it possible to get early treatment, before noticeable vision loss occurs.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Living healthy can lower your risk of vision loss from eye disease. You can start taking steps toward living a healthy life by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and managing chronic conditions.
Know your family history
We get our eye color from our parents, but did you know that eye health can be hereditary, too? Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition, since many are hereditary.
Use protective eyewear
Keep your eyes protected when doing chores around the house, playing sports, or on the job. Each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment, and every 13 minutes, an ER in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. Protecting your eyes with the right eyewear can prevent those injuries from happening—that includes safety glasses, goggles, safety shields, and eye guards that are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics.
Most people know the sun’s rays are bad for our skin. But did you know they’re just as bad for our eyes? When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation so you can protect your eyes and prevent damage.
Some of the sun’s effects on the eyes include: cataract, macular degeneration and pterygium, a tissue growth over the white part of the eye that can cause astigmatism.