What is the purpose of Save Your Vision Month?
For decades, the American Optometric Association (AOA) has declared March as Save Your Vision Month in which the organization aims to raise much awareness concerning the need for comprehensive, annual eye evaluations. People often believe good vision means good eye health. Unfortunately, this is not always true, and patients are left with visual issues that could have been prevented if they had a thorough eye exam.
It has been reported that by 2020, over 40 million Americans will be at risk for reduced vision, even blindness, due to age-related disease. Some of those conditions include cataracts, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and age-related macular disease. Many of the devastating effects caused by these diseases are preventable through early detection with a thorough eye examination.
While most people associate an eye evaluation with getting a spectacle or contact lens prescription, it includes much more. The doctor will evaluate how the eyes work together and also check for eye diseases. An important part of the exam includes the use of diagnostic eye drops that many patients dislike, but are vital to fully evaluate the eyes. In many instances, the eye doctor is the first to inform a patient about certain systemic (body) health issues, such as diabetes or hypertension
(high blood pressure).
Annual eye health evaluations are needed, even though many insurance companies recommend a longer period of time between exams. This applies to all ages, but particularly to those with risks of disease due to family history. While providing the best vision possible to every patient is the responsibility of all eye doctors, clearly, the patient plays an important role in this by getting evaluated yearly.
The first step in quality eye health care is making and keeping the appointment. Besides that critical step, here are some helpful hints to help preserve your vision:
- Wear good, quality sunglasses. Exposure to UV rays in extended amounts can cause cataracts, macular degeneration, unusual conjunctival issues like pinguecula and pterygia, and negative effects to the cornea and tear film. The best prevention is to simply wear quality sunglasses.
- Don’t use tobacco products as they have unfortunate consequences to your vision and eye health, not to mention your body.
- Don’t abuse your contact lenses. Sleeping in your contacts and/or prolonged use can result in many issues like corneal ulcers that are quite painful and in severe cases, could cause permanent eye damage. Follow your doctor’s recommendations on not only wearing time, but proper contact lens hygiene. If you do not use daily disposable contact lenses, replace the contact lens case frequently. These are wonderful sources for bacteria that can sometimes cause serious eye problems.
- Consume green, leafy vegetables. Yes, as always, Mom was correct! Eat your fruits and vegetables, particularly spinach, broccoli, and kale. All contain a slew of nutrients for good eye health.
- The eyes need good blood circulation and oxygen exchange, and exercise provides those requirements.
- Wear protective eyewear when required. This simple suggestion is often overlooked by many and can prevent trauma to the eyes.
- Put down the digital device! In this era, it can be hard to do, but this year, the AOA is dedicated to making the public aware of the effects digital technology has on the eyes. Be sure to observe the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away. This helps decrease eye strain associated with computers, smartphones, tablets, or other hand-held devices.
The AOA deserves credit for its efforts in helping educate the public on the importance of eye care and eye health, particularly through Save Your Vision Month. It has been reported that around 80% of vision problems are avoidable or curable with proper evaluation and treatment. This month, please take the most important step in ensuring good eye health — make an appointment for a thorough eye evaluation. Call New Era Eye Care today at 570.704.3993!