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. 

The Coolest Way to Maintain Your Vision Health

by MikeMeehan 5/30/2017 1:13 PM

Wearing sunglasses is one of the coolest ways to maintain your vision health. It’s such a good idea, the National Eye Institute (NIH) included wearing sunglasses as one of their five recommendations for Healthy Vision Month, along with getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Exposing your eyes to the sun’s strong rays can cause severe damage and lead to a lot of different problems. Keeping sunglasses on is an easy way to protect yourself and your family, just make sure you purchase the right kind. Protect your eyes from these scary conditions Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the sun’s rays damaging the cornea, lens, retina and other parts of your eyes. UV exposure for many hours or over the years can cause serious eye damage, eye conditions or worsen the symptoms of these conditions. Certain types of cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration have all been linked to extended exposure to ultraviolet rays. The NIH reports that 20% of cataract cases are caused by extended UV exposure. Cataracts and macular degeneration can result in vision loss. Other conditions include pingueculae, pterygium and photokeratitis. Pingueculae and pterygium are both growths on your eye’s conjunctiva (the clear covering over the white part of your eye). Photokeratitis, also called snow blindness, is like having sunburned eyes, or more technically, a sunburned cornea. But even though it has the alternative name of snow blindness, you don’t need to be around snow to develop the condition. Photokeratitis, caused by overexposure to UV rays, is painful and results in a temporary loss of vision. These all sound terrible, but we know they can be prevented with proper sunglasses. Now let’s make sure you’re getting the protection you need by choosing the right kind of sunglasses. Choose wisely, check labels When deciding what sunglasses to buy, choose a pair that blocks out 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Also, consider a pair that wraps around your eyes to provide more coverage. Polarized lenses are a popular choice because they reduce glare, especially useful when you’re around water or snow. But still make sure they have the 100% UV protection. With sunglasses that have dark tinted lens, still look for a 100% UV protection label, because a dark lens doesn’t always mean protection. It’s the material of the lens or the way the lens are treated that make them block the UV rays. Similarly, the price doesn’t guarantee UV protection either. So don’t assume an expensive pair has the protection you need or an inexpensive pair doesn’t have the protection you need. Overall, make sure they fit properly so you’re getting as much protection from the harmful rays as possible. And if you aren’t sure your sunglasses have the proper UV protection, use your eye doctor as a resource. Still need protection on cloudy days Even though the summer has arrived and the sun is bursting, remember to wear your sunglasses not only in the warm months but throughout the year. You might not think to grab your sunglasses when it’s overcast, but the sun’s rays can be just as harmful on cloudy days, too. If you haven’t already, create the habit of putting on your sunglasses every time you walk outside, and make sunglasses a part of your healthy vision lifestyle. We wish you a happy summer!

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.

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