March is Save Your Vision Month, a national effort to focus on the importance of making regular eye care a priority for a lifetime of healthy vision. During Save Your Vision Month we are reminded that healthy lifestyle choices can influence good vision and eye health, as well as overall physical health.
Most adults between the ages of 19 and 40 enjoy healthy eyes and good vision. The most common eye and vision problems for people in this age group are due to visual stress and eye injuries. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and protecting your eyes from stress and injury, you can avoid many eye and vision problems.
The American Optometric Association and other experts recommends that adults aged 19 to 40 receive an eye exam at least every two years. If you are at risk for eye problems due to a family history of eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or past vision problems, your optometrist may recommend more frequent exams. In between examinations, contact your doctor if you notice a change in your vision. Detecting and treating problems early can help maintain good vision for the rest of your life.
As we get older, it’s normal to experience changes to our vision, like needing more light to read, and taking longer to adjust to changes in light levels. But some changes in vision and eye function, could be a sign of eye disease, such as glaucoma, cataract or macular degeneration, or a serious condition such as a detached retina. While not everyone will experience the same symptoms, the following are common age-related vision changes:
- The need for more light
- Difficulty reading and doing close work
- Problem with glare, when driving
- Changes in color perception
- Reduced tear production
People with diabetes are at a higher risk for vision loss. People who have diabetes are at a higher risk for glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy, in which different blood glucose levels slowly damage the retina. A rapid change in vision can often be a first sign of diabetes. Plus, blurred vision is a potential complication of diabetes. Floaters – specks and spots that sometimes appear in the eyes – do not affect the vision.
While not all eye diseases can be prevented, there are simple steps that everyone can take to help their eyes remain healthy now and reduce their chances of vision loss in the future.
Ways to protect your vision:
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Don’t smoke/stop smoking
- Take vitamins
- Eat a healthy diet
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants
- Take breaks for long computer usage
- Get regular eye exams
- Have a Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam
- Exercise regularly
Our eyes change as we get older. That’s a truth we can do little about. It’s the results we can change. The good news is, with proper treatment decisions, those eye diseases can be addressed and controlled and their potential to decrease your sight can be halted. Know the warning signs and take action.
Sources of other eye health information can be found on the Health Power web site at:
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!