May is Healthy Vision Month
June 1, 2022
Originally posted on thirdAGE.
By Sondra Forsyth
Taking care of your eyes should be a health priority, like eating a balanced diet and being physically active. “It starts with a comprehensive dilated eye exam to check for common vision problems and eye disease,” says ophthalmologist Calvin W. Roberts, MD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild.
“We urge people of all ages to schedule regular eye exams, especially older adults who are at increased risk for eye diseases,” says Dr. Roberts.
An examination can alert adults to potential eye conditions that can cause vision loss and even blindness. They include:
- Cataracts, clouding of the lens in an eye
- Diabetic retinopathy, which causes damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye
- Glaucoma, increased eye pressure that can damage the optic nerve
- Age-related macular degeneration, which gradually affects central vision
You should also visit an eye care professional if you have a decrease in vision, eye pain, double vision, eye redness, diabetes, or if you see floaters (tiny specks that appear to float before your eyes), halos around light sources, and flashes of light.
“Many common eye problems can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery,” Dr. Roberts explains. “Millions of Americans would see better if they used corrective lenses or had corrective eye surgery, if appropriate. For people who have low vision — vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, medication or surgery — vision rehabilitation and technology can help with everyday tasks. Devices such as video magnifiers, audio and electronic books, smartphones, and tablets can change the font size and lighting level or magnify what’s on a screen. Apps can help people identify money, colors and navigate their surroundings,” he adds.
Tips and techniques to protect your vision
In addition to scheduling regular comprehensive dilated eye exams, other simple practices can help maintain healthy vision, including:
- Wearing protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home, such as painting, yard work, and home repairs.
- Wearing sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
- Practicing workplace eye safety — wearing protective gear as needed on the job.
- Quitting smoking.
- Taking periodic eye breaks — staring at a computer all day, or any object, can make you blink less and cause eye fatigue. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: look away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away, which can reduce eyestrain.
- Eating healthy foods that protect your sight, such as dark leafy greens and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Knowing your family’s eye health history – since some eye conditions are hereditary.
“It’s always important to take care of your vision,” says Dr. Roberts. “But, during Healthy Vision Month, we especially remind everyone to take care of their eyes so they can be as healthy as possible.”
About Lighthouse Guild
Lighthouse Guild provides exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals. We provide coordinated care for eye health, vision rehabilitation and behavioral health as well as related services. Our podcast series, “On Tech & Vision with Dr. Cal Roberts,” offers information and insights about technological innovations that are tearing down barriers for people who are blind or visually impaired. For more information, visit Lighthouseguild.org.