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.

3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Oral and Vision Health Habits

by MikeMeehan 9/13/2017 11:35 AM

Let’s make this one easy. You already have good oral and vision health habits like visiting your eye doctor and dentist, brushing and flossing your teeth, and eating healthy foods to keep your teeth, gums and eyes strong. For self-improvement month, let’s take those habits and improve them a bit. With these small improvements, you’ll make a big difference in your oral and vision health. Brush for a full two minutes, time yourself!You’ve mastered your brushing technique, hitting all the tough-to-reach spots. You brush every morning, every night, and sometimes in between. Now, are you sure you’re brushing for two to three minutes? Try using our mobile app with the toothbrush timer, or try playing a song (average length is three minutes). Two minutes can seem like a short amount of time, but watch the clock, you might not be brushing long enough.Brushing for two to three minutes allows enough time for the fluoride in your toothpaste to do its job. Also, two to three minutes is approximately how long it takes to brush every tooth. But don’t think brushing harder, or faster, can make up for shortened time. If you brush too hard, or apply too much pressure, you could hurt your enamel and gum tissue.Can I sneak in one more small improvement with this one? Brush your tongue! It only adds another few seconds! Due to its rough surface, your tongue can be a hiding place for bacteria that causes bad breath. Rest your eyesThis is a fast-growing vision problem affecting everyone – digital eye strain caused by blue light from our computer screens, phones, and other devices. To improve your vision health and prevent this condition, the easiest step you can take is to limit your time in front of a screen, or, at the very least, take frequent breaks. Breaks should be every 20 minutes and at least 20 seconds. Another prevention step to consider is using glasses with blue-light filtering lenses. Because this condition is becoming commonplace, vision providers are offering this option for your lenses. Improve your techniqueYou’ve advanced your oral health care by including flossing in your routine. That’s fantastic, but we’re going to push you a little bit further to improve your flossing technique. While you’re gliding the floss between your teeth with a gentle sawing motion, improve this technique by curving the floss along the gum line and sliding up and down. This improvement will help to clean not just in between your teeth, but along the gum line.Flossing protects your gums and helps to prevent disease. If you’ve already mastered your flossing technique, consider making improvements to your brushing technique too.  These three suggestions are a quick way to improve your dental and vision health­ – brush for two minutes, give your eyes a break from blue light and improve your flossing technique. And if you’re looking for more ways to improve, see last week’s blog about adding more fruits and vegetables to your menu.

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