Every September at Johnson Optometric, we look forward to sharing Save Your Sight Month with our patients. We all know that some changes in vision are a natural part of the aging process. However, Save Your Sight Month reminds us that while you cannot avoid all eye conditions, you can drastically reduce your risk and improve your long-term vision by taking a few simple preventative steps.
Schedule regular eye exams. Annual comprehensive eye examinations are the single best way to safeguard your eyesight at all stages of life. For children and adults, regardless of perceived level of vision, eye exams are critical. Eye exams not only check for vision correction needs but checking eye health is often a window into other health issues elsewhere in the body. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), children need their first eye exam at six months of age, another at age three and again at the start of school. At Johnson Optometric, we recommend all children have a yearly exam after age five and through adulthood.
Make sure you schedule an eye exam every year for long-term eye health if you have one of these risk factors.
• Prescription contact lenses or glasses
• Family history of eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration
• Diagnosis of diabetes or high blood pressure
• Occupation that places heavy demands on eyes
• Potential visual side effects from prescription or over-the-counter drugs
• Previous eye injuries or surgery
Ask about your family history. When left undiagnosed, genetic eye conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration often have no early symptoms and are only detectable in early stages through an eye exam. These conditions can needlessly lead to permanent vision loss. Eye doctors can perform an eye pressure check and take retinal photographs to detect issues early and prevent disease progression.
Follow contact lens care instructions. More than 34 million people in the US wear contact lenses. While convenient, it’s easy to become lax about their care. Clean and dispose of your lenses carefully according to the instructions. Don’t use lenses beyond their recommended wear time or sleep in them unless directed by your doctor. If you find it difficult to keep up with the cleaning required for prescription lenses, ask about disposable and extended-wear lenses.
Take care of your body. A variety of vegetables, especially leafy greens, can ensure you have the right vitamins and minerals to support retinal function. Vitamins E and C, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids all affect eye health. Staying tobacco-free can also prevent many eye diseases, including macular degeneration.
Be careful with your eye makeup. A few best practices to keep in mind — Introduce one new kind of eye makeup at a time in case of allergic reaction. Never share makeup. Dispose of liquid makeup every three months. Make sure your eyes are clean before application and always remove makeup before going to bed.
To continue our focus on Save Your Sight Month, next we’ll discuss common external eye hazards and easy ways to protect your vision every day. With these tips and regular eye exams from the doctors at Johnson Optometric, you will be well on your way to Saving Your Sight.