Taking care of your vision is a health priority similar to eating well and exercising. Your vision keeps you safe and allows you to experience the beauty of the world. Despite the importance of maintaining one’s eye health, Optometrists are often challenged with educating the public on the necessary steps to take care of their eyes. The need for proper eye care education has developed into Healthy Vision Month, a reminder every May from the optometry community to take the necessary steps to ensure your vision remains healthy for the years to come. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of receiving regular comprehensive eye exams and other health strategies that will benefit and protect your eyes.
Comprehensive eye exams performed by an optometrist are an essential component of taking care of your eye health and vision. Your optometrist will discuss your family’s health history with you, screen for your vision quality, and perform tests to evaluate your eye health. It is recommended for a healthy adult to receive a comprehensive eye exam once every two years. Bi-annual eye exams ensure that your vision is accurate and that you’re not at risk of an eye condition. The early detection of eye diseases is essential for effective treatment, as timely treatment will result in better outcomes.
Some special considerations for examination frequency include:
- Those that have refractive errors and need glasses or contact lenses should receive an eye exam annually. Annual eye exams will ensure one’s prescription is up to date.
- Infants and Children should receive their first eye exams between 6-12 months old, 3-5 years old, and just before they enter kindergarten. Healthy vision in children is important for their learning and early development.
- Those over the age of 65 should receive an eye exam annually. Aging makes one more vulnerable to eye conditions, such as Glaucoma and Age-related Macular Degeneration. It is important to detect eye conditions quickly before they can irreversibly claim one’s vision.
Outside of the optometrist’s office, your health habits play an important role in determining your overall eye health. Here are some healthy strategies to improve your eye health and avoid eye-related injuries.
- You should eat well to ensure you’re eyes receive proper nutrition. Some eye-health foods include dark leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and spinach for their vitamin content and fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout for their omega-3 fatty acid content.
- Physical exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are necessary steps in assuring your eyes are healthy. Physical exercise increases blood flow to the eyes and lowers intraocular pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight lowers the risk of eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
- You should quit smoking or never start to protect your eye health. Smoking increases the prevalence of eye conditions, such as dry eye and blurry vision, as well as eye diseases. Quitting smoking will improve the damage caused by smoking.
- You should wear eye protection when performing yard or housework. Every year, there are thousands of emergency room visits due to eye injuries sustained from chemicals in household cleaners and debris from yard work.
- The blue light emitted from computer screens, smartphones, and other electronic devices are responsible for dry eyes, blurry vision, and eye fatigue. That's why it's important to take regular breaks when working on the computer. The 20-20-20 rule recommends that every 20 minutes, one should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.