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.

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.

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