5 Things to Know About Glaucoma

by MikeMeehan 1/11/2018 10:20 AM

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it’s one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. And according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, of the 60 million people in the world that have glaucoma, an estimated half of those people don’t know they have it. With January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, here are five things to learn about the disease. Use this information as a way to start your research and develop knowledge on how this disease can affect you and your family.  Glaucoma usually has no symptoms The symptoms of glaucoma can vary. What’s frightening is that you could have glaucoma without knowing; it can develop slowly and without pain. There could be no warning signs until you start to notice a loss in your vision. But as much as 40% of your vision can be lost without you noticing. With some forms of the disease, the condition could happen quickly, and there could be symptoms like blurred vision and halos around lights. Glaucoma can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam While it’s scary to think that glaucoma can develop without you realizing, remember this disease can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam from your eye doctor. With early detection, there is treatment available that can control the disease and reduce the risk of vision loss. Regular eye exams are so important for detection of this disease because any vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. People over the age of 60 are at high risk If you’re over the age of 60, you have a higher risk of developing glaucoma. Other factors can increase your risk, so talk with your eye doctor and discuss these variables. The most common forms of glaucoma affect older people, but the disease can still affect all age groups. If you have a high risk of glaucoma, it’s extremely important to get a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor every one to two years. Family history increases your risk According to the AOA, the exact cause of glaucoma is not known. We do know that the condition is “usually associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye.” We also know that it’s hereditary in some families. Read more about this and other risk factors. There are different types of glaucoma While we often might just use the general term glaucoma when referring to it, there are different forms of the disease. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common. You can learn more about the different types of glaucoma and how they’re different on the Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Now, with these five things to know about glaucoma, consider your vision health, talk to your family, and make an eye doctor appointment. 

’Tis the Season for Dental and Vision Health Traditions

by MikeMeehan 12/20/2017 10:32 AM

At Delta Dental, we always have your dental and vision health in mind. And that doesn’t stop during the holidays. So we’ve come up with fun and unique ways to incorporate the goal to improve your dental and vision health with new holiday traditions and gift-giving ideas.  Elf on the Shelf can teach good health habits This popular elf can promote good dental health habits with your kids. He or she can encourage healthy snacking by sitting next to the fruit bowl. Or how about if the elf was wrapped up in dental floss and left a note about flossing daily? The elf can even bring gifts of new toothbrushes and toothpaste. Sunglasses and other vision wear make great gifts Sunglasses make a great holiday gift. They should be used in the winter, and it’s a nice reminder of the summer though it may be months away. Other vision wear like swim goggles and computer glasses or blue light blocking eyewear are useful gifts for the kids and entire family. Eyeglass holders come in all sorts of varieties for all personalities, and they’re also a useful gift for your friends. Bring along a pomegranate When you go to your holiday parties or family gatherings, instead of arriving with the usual candy and cookies, start a new tradition of arriving with festive fruit. The pomegranate is a symbol for the season and could be a unique surprise. Contributing healthy choices to the array of holiday foods is a good way to keep your overall health, and your dental and vision health, in mind during a season when those priorities might be pushed aside. Toothbrush in the stocking Need a stocking stuffer? Toothbrushes will fit in the stockings perfectly. There are fun options available for the kids. And a toothbrush in the stocking will be a good reminder to brush since kids are eating lots of sweets during the holiday. There’s room for floss in there, too. Holiday sing-a-long while you brush Already in the holiday spirit? Are you already listening to and singing along to your favorite festive tunes? Great! Now keep doing that while you’re brushing your teeth. Jingle Bells is a great choice to cover the two minutes of brushing you do twice a day. It works as a great reminder for the kids. Donations If you’re getting together donations, think about dental and vision health contributions. Consider donating dental health necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss to your preferred charity. Also consider the gift of vision this year. You can donate your old eyeglasses, reading glasses, frames, and sunglasses or donate to a charity that provides vision care to communities in need. We love the idea of giving the gift of dental and vision health this season, whether it’s through donations or starting new gift traditions. We wish you happy holidays and bright and healthy smiles in the New Year!

5 Healthy Aging Behaviors to Help Your Vision

by MikeMeehan 9/27/2017 1:08 PM

Healthy aging seems to be a trending phrase. But this trend might stick around for a long time since approximately 20% of our population is going to be over 65 by 2030. That’s about 72 million people. So how are we all going to age in a healthy manner? Or, more specifically, how will we all keep our eyes healthy? Take these five healthy actions to help with the aging of your eyes. These tips can help protect your vision, and for the 72 million of us out there who will be over 65 soon, we can try to keep our eyes as healthy as possible and set ourselves up for continued healthy vision. Visit your vision provider annually Because, as we age, we need to be concerned with more than just vision impairment. There are other health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers, that your vision provider can detect during a comprehensive eye exam. The National Eye Institute states that vision loss and blindness are “not a normal part of aging” but some changes like losing focus, trouble distinguishing some colors and needing more light to see are common. But keep in mind, these vision changes “can often be corrected.” Visit your vision provider every one to two years. Wear sunglasses We talked about this over the summer, but we should always be aware of the damage UV rays can cause to our vision. Protecting our eyes from the sun is important for all age groups, and putting on your shades every time you step outside is a good habit to have. The long-term exposure to UV rays can increase your risk for cataracts when you get older. Make healthy choices… And this isn’t just eating more fruits and vegetables, although that’s a good place to start. Making healthy choices also means quitting smoking and keeping normal blood pressure and maintaining good cholesterol and glucose levels. Throw in 30 minutes of exercise daily, and your healthy choices are complete to benefit your vision health. Eating fruits and vegetables with vitamin C and E, lutein and zeaxanthin, studies show, can lead to a lower risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Vitamins A and D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids are also on the nutrient list to help maintain healthy vision. Quitting smoking will also lower your risk for eye diseases like AMD and cataracts. Maintaining a healthy weight to lower your risk of developing diabetes is important because this condition can damage your eyes and potentially lead to vision loss. High blood pressure is also a condition that can damage your eyes. Limit time in front of digital devices Another trending term, along with healthy aging, is digital eye strain. This term, and condition, is also here to stay because we now spend so much time looking at our phones, working in front of the computer, or watching television. All this screen time can cause issues like eye dryness, eye fatigue, blurry vision and difficulty shifting focus to objects at a distance. Talk to your eye doctor if you have any of these symptoms of digital eye strain. Other steps you can take include using blue light filtering lenses and limiting your screen time by taking frequent breaks every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds. We don’t yet know the long-term effects digital eye strain will have on the population, but develop these healthy aging habits to help prevent the symptoms. Educate yourself Knowing and being aware of any symptoms of vision loss will help you take the necessary step of visiting your vision provider and getting an eye exam. Look for any changes while reading, driving, or watching TV. Look for any changes with your loved ones like squinting or bumping into things. As we get older, we’re also at a higher risk of vision loss from eye diseases and conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye. Learning about these and other conditions, as well as knowing risk factors and your family history is an important part of your healthy aging process.

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