Make Vision Count Today and Everyday

by MikeMeehan 10/12/2017 1:33 PM

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) every year declares the second Thursday of October World Sight Day. The purpose is to bring attention and awareness to blindness and vision impairment and the theme of universal eye health. This year’s message is “Make Vision Count” and as your vision benefits provider we’re more than happy to promote this theme and the other messages of World Sight Day. Background on the IAPB The IAPB was established as an organization to lead an international effort to coordinate resources for blindness prevention. The founders wanted to bring attention to the problem of global blindness. The IAPB covers all regions of the globe, and the mission is to achieve universal access to eye health. The major threats to eye health in the North American region according to the IAPB are chronic conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. Also, in Caribbean countries, a challenging issue is cataract blindness and low surgical rate. You can learn more about the IAPB and their global action plan, by visiting their website. Statistics show the importance of making vision count New data and projections will be released today from the Vision Loss Expert Group, as part of World Sight Day. Here are some of the facts from the IAPB website that drive their cause: Approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness 90% of blind people live in low-income countries Yet 80% of visual impairment is avoidable (i.e. readily treatable or preventable) Restorations of sight, and blindness prevention strategies are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care How do we make vision count? What does “Make Vision Count” mean to you? How do we make vision count? Today, on World Sight Day, we hope you schedule a comprehensive eye exam for you and your family. Regular eye exams are important for checking eye functions and for common eye diseases, but they can also detect other health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. Also, we want you to practice good habits for eye health, like eating vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking. We recognize, and will always advocate for, the importance of healthy vision today and every day. 

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.

Final Back-to-School Reminders

by MikeMeehan 8/28/2017 9:46 AM

We talked about tooth care tips for the kids as they head back to school, we recommended some good books to encourage healthy dental habits, and now that the kids are officially back in school or maybe only days away, we’ve got a few more tips to share. Eye exams are often skipped A new survey found that over 50% of parents in the U.S. don’t take their kids for a comprehensive eye exam before going back to school. In the same survey, the majority of respondents agreed that eye exams are important for their kids. So what is preventing parents from taking their kids to the eye doctor? Some might think that vision screenings, sometimes offered at school, are adequate. Vision screenings and comprehensive eye exams are different and screenings can miss the majority of vision problems. When to take your child for an eye exam There can be warning signs your child has a vision problem, but even without symptoms or if your child has a low risk of vision problems, the American Optometric Association recommends children receive an eye exam at 6 months of age, 3 years of age, 5 years of age (before first grade), and then every two years or as suggested by your doctor. If your child is at risk, the frequency changes to every year or as recommended. Look for a list of factors that place a child at risk for vision impairment here. Vision problems can affect learning Sometimes with kids, vision problems can be misdiagnosed or undetected. There is a link between vision and learning, so making sure they can read the blackboard, their books and their laptops is important. About 80% of learning is through a child’s vision and 60% of students who are labeled as problem learners have an undiagnosed vision problem. As the numbers illustrate, adding eye exams on your priority list will benefit your child and their learning. Back-to-school gear for athletes Back to school also means school sports. And when we think of sports, we think of mouth and eye protection. Did you have protective eye gear and mouth guards on the back-to-school list? Mouthguards can provide ample protection from sports-related injuries to the teeth, mouth, jaws and surrounding areas. They help to prevent any kind of dislocation of jaw joints and protect the teeth from being knocked out. Read more to determine what kind of mouth guard fits your kid’s sport or activity. According to an article on AllAboutVision.com, the amount of sports-related eye injuries reported in emergency rooms are over 40,000 every year. But most of these injuries are preventable with protective eyewear. With sports, we may think of flying objects as the hazard, but eye injuries can be a result of an elbow or finger in a close contact sport. Suit up the kids with all their sports gear and include mouth guards and protective eye wear. Did you get their eyes checked? You take your children to the doctor and dentist, now add your vision provider to that list. Back to school can be a busy time with all the preparation and anticipation. But whether this time of year is best for your family, or any other time during the year, make their vision health a part of your schedule. Protect your active kid with mouth guards and eye shields. And we wish you all a happy back-to-school season!

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