The Link Between Family History and Your Vision

by MikeMeehan 5/23/2017 10:37 AM

I remember learning in school how eye color is determined by the dominant and recessive genes of our parents. Remember the chart we filled in with uppercase and lowercase letters? But when it comes to your vision, you might share more than your parents’ eye color. You could have inherited an eye disease. Just like it’s important to know your family’s medical history for heart and other diseases, it’s the same for your family’s eye health history, suggests the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The National Eye Institute (NIH) recommends talking to family members including parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Since some eye diseases are passed down, knowing your family’s eye health history could help determine if you are high risk. May is Healthy Vision Month and knowing your family’s eye health history is one of the five steps the NIH recommends to keep your eyes healthy, along with getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam, using protective eyewear, wearing sunglasses, and living a healthy lifestyle. What to know Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are hereditary and two of the leading causes of blindness in adults, but they don’t have early stage symptoms. The Glaucoma Research Foundation states that your risk of glaucoma with increase four to nine times if the disease exists in your family history. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you have a “50 percent chance of developing AMD” if the disease runs in your family. In addition, myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism are common vision problems that have been linked to genetics. What to do Have a discussion with your family. Get regular eye exams, and talk to your vision care provider. After sharing your family’s eye health history with the doctor, she will be able to look for any signs of potential problems. Be proactive about your eye health and overall health. Staying fit and eating fruits and vegetables, like leafy greens, will keep you and your eyes healthy. Wearing sunglasses and being aware of eye strain, if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen or other electronic devices, are also proactive ways to keep your eyes healthy. While you figure out where your green eyes came from, learn about your family’s eye health history. You’ll be one step closer to healthy vision.

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.

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