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Healthy Vision Month

CDC - Healthy Vision Month - Vision Health Initiative (VHI)

May is Healthy Vision Month: You can have a comprehensive dilated eye exam to check for common eye problems. If you haven’t had an exam in a while, schedule one now.

Taking care of your eyes can be a priority just like eating healthy and physical activity. Healthy vision can help keep you safe each day. To keep your eyes healthy, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam: an eye care professional will use drops to widen the pupils to check for common vision problems and eye diseases. It’s the best way to find out if you need glasses or contacts, or are in the early stages of any eye-related diseases.

Vision Health for All Ages

You can have a dilated eye exam regularly to check for common eye problems. If you haven’t had an exam for some time, schedule one this month.

CDC’s Vision Health Initiative partners with the National Eye Institute to encourage all Americans to make vision a health priority this Healthy Vision Month.

  • Although older adults tend to have more vision problems, preschoolers may not see as well as they can.

  • Just 1 out of every 7 preschoolers receives an eye exam, and fewer than 1 out of every 4 receives some type of vision screening.

  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends vision screening for all children aged 3 to 5 years to find conditions such as amblyopia, or lazy eye, which can be treated effectively if caught early.

Some eye conditions can cause vision loss and even blindness. These include

  • Cataracts, a clouding of the eye.

  • Diabetic retinopathy, which causes damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

  • Glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve, often with increased eye pressure.

  • Age-related macular degeneration, which gradually affects central vision.

Other eye conditions, such as refractive errors, which happen when the shape of your eye doesn’t bend light correctly, are common problems easily corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery. An estimated 11 million Americans aged 12 years and older could see better if they used corrective lenses, or eye surgery, if appropriate.

Nine ways you can help protect your vision

  1. Get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams.

  2. Know your family’s eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition, since some are hereditary.

  3. Eat right to protect your sight: In particular, eat plenty of dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens, and fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, albacore tuna, trout, and halibut.

  4. Maintain a healthy weight.

  5. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home, such as painting, yard work, and home repairs.

  6. Quit smoking or never start.

  7. Wear sunglasses that block 99 percent-100 percent of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.

  8. Wash your hands before taking out your contacts and cleanse your contact lenses properly to avoid infection.

  9. Practice workplace eye safety.

Eyes and Overall Health

Taking care of your eyes also may benefit your overall health. People with vision problems are more likely than those with good vision to have diabetes, poor hearing, heart problems, high blood pressure, lower back pain and strokes, as well as have increased risk for falls, injury and depression. Among people aged 65 and older, 54.2 percent of those who are blind and 41.7 percent of those with impaired vision say their overall health is fair or poor. Just 21.5 percent of older Americans without vision problems reported fair to poor health.

In addition to your comprehensive dilated eye exams, visit an eye care professional if you have

  • Decreased vision.

  • Eye pain.

  • Drainage or redness of the eye.

  • Double vision.

  • Diabetes.

  • Floaters (tiny specks that appear to float before your eyes).

  • Circles (halos) around light sources; or

  • If you see flashes of light.

For this Healthy Vision Month, take care of your eyes to make them last a lifetime.

More Information

5 Ways to Get Your Eyes Summer Ready

Written By: Kierstan Boyd

Apr. 28, 2017

As the weather gets warmer and the days grow longer, we often think about improving our health and getting into better shape. As you prepare to enjoy the outdoors this summer, don’t forget a plan for keeping your eyes happy as well.

Here are five ways to keep your eyes safe and healthy this summer:

1. Avoid getting a “sunburn of the eye.”

When sunlight shines off water, sand or other highly reflective surfaces into your eyes, it can cause a very painful condition called photokeratitis. This is when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays burn the surface of your eye. Painrednessblurriness and even temporary vision loss are symptoms of this condition. Prevent photokeratitis by wearing sunglasses that are marked “100% UV protection.” Also, wear a broad-rimmed hat for added eye protection.

2. Prevent “swimmer’s eye” in the pool.

Pools can be tough on the eyes. Chemicals used to keep the water clean, such as chlorine, can affect the natural tear film that keeps our eyes moist and healthy. The result? Red, gritty-feeling eyes and blurry vision. Keep eyes feeling and looking good by wearing swim goggles in the pool, and splash your closed eyes with fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool.

3. Keep dry eye at bay.

Spending time outside when it is hot, dry or windy can irritate a common condition called dry eye. A hot, dry environment affects the tear film, drying out the eye’s surface. To protect your eyes in these conditions, wear wrap-around glasses to keep wind from your eye’s surface. Also, use artificial tears (preferably those that are preservative-free) to keep eyes moist and refreshed.

4. Don’t play around with eye safety.

Spending more time outside often means more outdoor work and play. Whether mowing the lawn, trimming weeds or playing baseball, always wear the proper protective eyewear.

More than half of all eye injuries occur at home, yet only about one out of every three people wears eye protection when they should. Don’t be an eye injury statistic!

5. Quit smoking.

When thinking about getting healthy this summer, think about quitting smoking. Cigarette smoke, including second-hand smoke, not only worsens dry eye, but is a risk factor for many eye diseases, including cataractsmacular degeneration and more. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of getting eye disease and other major health problems.

This article was originally published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology