5 Recommendations for Healthy Vision Month

by MikeMeehan 5/18/2017 9:17 AM

Sight could be one of the five senses that we take for granted the most. The National Eye Institute (NIH) says more than 23 million Americans (age 18 and older) have never had an eye exam. That is why Healthy Vision Month is important. Started in 2003, the NIH promotes Healthy Vision Month to encourage us to make eye health a priority. This year the focus is women’s eye health. The NIH made it easy for you to recognize the occasion with five steps to keep your eyes healthy. Check these off your list and keep them in mind not just this month, but all year. Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam–Schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam with your vision care provider. Some common eye diseases do not have early symptoms, but a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect these diseases in the early stages. Use protective eyewear–Make sure you and your family are using protective eyewear during sports and other recreational activities. A good reminder now that the summer months are here. Also, when you are taking care of chores around the house or if you have a job that could pose a risk to your eyes, safety glasses can prevent injury. Know your family eye health history–Do some research and check in with your family members (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles). Knowing if your family has vision problems or diseases will help determine if you are at high risk. Wear sunglasses–When you purchase sunglasses, pick a pair that blocks out 99-100% of UVA/UVB rays. The sun can have negative effects on your eyes. For example, extended UV exposure can cause cataracts. Live a healthy lifestyle–Your overall health affects the health of your eyes. More specifically, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of diabetes, which can lead to diabetic eye disease and vision loss. Other recommendations–consume healthy foods, refrain from smoking, and manage any chronic health conditions. All of these can be linked to your vision health. Now, participate even more with Healthy Vision Month–share this information with your family and friends. We’re happy you’re not taking your eyesight for granted.

How to Properly (or Improperly) Clean Your Eyeglasses

by MikeMeehan 5/16/2017 9:11 AM

Lately, you started wearing glasses a bit more often or maybe all the time. You found a fantastic pair of frames, and road signs are clear again! Whether you are new to the joys of wearing glasses or a seasoned wearer, you’re probably well aware of the frequent bother of keeping your vision clear of specks and smudges on your lenses. And maybe you often breathe on your glasses and grab the bottom of your shirt to wipe them clean. Turns out, that’s a bad idea! Read on for the proper (and improper) ways to clean your eyeglasses. Don’t spit or exhale! I’ve seen lots of people do it, but you can’t assume these tactics are free of bacteria or particles. You can use eyeglass cleaner spray, but if you don’t have that available, use lukewarm tap water. You can also use a tiny amount of safe dishwashing soap.  Do your best to not wipe your lenses when they are dry. Water might not always be accessible, but debris already on the surface of your lenses can cause scratches when you clean them. Pre-moistened lens wipes are also an option. Resist using your shirt, despite the convenience. There are microfiber cloths specifically made for cleaning lenses. Using a tissue, paper towel or other material could scratch the surface. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth for eyewear, be sure to use a clean, soft cotton cloth. Make a visit to your eye care provider. They may be able to give some recommendations or provide a more thorough cleaning. Start the habit of cleaning your glasses every day. Since they are an investment, and you love your new frames, keep them as long as you can. These tips will help their longevity. Look for other tips caring for your eyeglasses in upcoming blogs.

How Stress Can Harm You: From the perspective of your oral and vision health

by MikeMeehan 4/18/2017 1:31 PM

We talk about it, hear about it and complain about it. The phrase “I’m stressed out” has become so overused, we may even dismiss it. Despite the abundant information and worn out terms, the harm stress can cause is worthy of the overemphasis. So we are going to use the occasion of Stress Awareness Month to bring attention to the ways stress can affect your oral and vision health. You may associate stress with lack of sleep and feeling overwhelmed, but two common physical symptoms of stress are associated with your oral health — jaw pain or clenching and teeth grinding. Stress can also affect your vision temporarily. Stress and Oral Health Here are 4 ways stress can affect your mouth: Gum disease or periodontal disease is a bacterial infection caused by inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissue. Warning signs include red and swollen gums, gums that pull away from your teeth and persistent bad breath. When you are under stress, your ability to fight off infections (like gum disease) is affected. Bruxism is the technical term for the condition of grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw which can be caused by stress. Symptoms include headaches, tooth sensitivity and a sore jaw.  Canker sores are small ulcers in the mouth and may be caused by stress. The severity can vary. Also, if you chew on your tongue, cheeks or inside of your mouth, you could be susceptible to canker sores. Temporomandibular disorders, more easily referred to as TMD (or TMJ), are a range of conditions that affect the muscles and joints in your jaw and neck. Symptoms include jaw pain and soreness, clicking of the jaw and discomfort when you move your jaw up and down. Stress may cause or aggravate TMD.  Stress and Vision Health When you think about stress, you might not associate it with your eyes or vision. Here are some symptoms: Tunnel or blurry vision: Lose of peripheral vision and a slight blurriness can occur when your stress levels increase. Eye twitching: That annoying spasm occurring in your eye could be a sign of stress. Eye strain: Recently, we covered digital eye strain from prolonged time in front of a screen, but the stress occurring in your life can also cause eye strain and fatigue. Eye floaters: Spots and specks that float across your field of vision are not necessarily a cause for concern, but you may notice them during times of elevated stress. Solutions with a dental and vision focus While stress reduction methods like yoga, physical activity and breathing exercises have been abundantly endorsed, here are some recommendations specifically for your oral and vision health. From the perspective of your oral health, talk to your dentist if you have jaw pain or if you grind your teeth. You may not be aware that you grind your teeth at night, so a visit to the dentist could discover the problem and will prompt a discussion about possible treatments. During stressful situations, try to relax your face, neck and shoulders to avoid clenching your jaw. Avoid gum and tough foods that cause extra chewing and effort from your jaw. Practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining your regimen, even during the difficult times, will help prevent dental issues. Daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque buildup can help the fight against gum disease like gingivitis and periodontitis. And try not to turn to caffeine or sugar when you are feeling stressed. Both choices are detrimental to your oral health. From the perspective of vision health, if you continue to have some of these stress-related eye problems, be sure to visit your eye doctor. But since most stress-induced eye problems are temporary, find the most effective stress reducing tactics that work for you personally, and give yourself some time for the symptoms to subside and go away. Looking for more ways to alleviate stress, or more information on the ways stress affects your smile or eyes? You can find more articles like this on our website and more information from our oral health library.

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