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Healthy Vision Month

May 1, 2020

BY Jennifer Kessler, O.D.

Healthy Vision Month

 

May has been labeled as “Healthy Vision Month” by many organizations as a reminder to everyone to remember that your eyes need yearly checks just like the rest of your body. 

 

There are several things you can do to make sure your eyes are staying healthy.  The first is to get regular dilated eye exams from an optometrist or ophthalmologist.  Many of the most common eye conditions that affect our vision can cause gradual changes, so it’s not always obvious something is wrong.

 

Living a healthy lifestyle has many benefits to your overall well-being, and can positively impact your eyes as well.  Things like maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious food, and abstaining from smoking are some of the behaviors that are very helpful for your eyes.  Being overweight increases your risk of developing macular degeneration, glaucoma, and thyroid-related eye disease.  Nutrients you eat from green vegetables such as kale and spinach are important for maintaining proper cell function in the eye, and if you aren’t getting enough it can lead to issues like cataract development and macular degeneration.  Smoking has been found to increase your risk of macular degeneration by 3-4x more than a non-smoker.  Smoking also increases the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye syndrome, and diabetic retinopathy.

 

Your family history is also important to know, as many eye diseases have a genetic component. For conditions like glaucoma or macular degeneration, early detection is the key to preserving your vision for as long as possible.

 

Lastly, in order to maintain healthy eyes, it’s important to wear eye protection when appropriate.  This means wearing safety glasses to prevent injuries when working with wood or metal and while playing sports.  It’s also a good idea to wear sunglasses when you are outside in order to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet light.