The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 90 million Americans over the age of 40 have eye problems. That is about 60 percent of the population. May has been designated as Healthy Vision Month to bring attention to our eyes and the problems that we can encounter. While prevention is always the best route to follow, treating eye problems early, should they occur, can prevent further harm to our vision.
One of the reasons people neglect their eyes is because if they don’t think there is a problem, they aren’t going to get checked. While older adults, especially women, are usually the group that experiences more age related vision problems, it is becoming more evident that school age children are also experiencing vision problems. Children who can’t see well probably have difficulty reading, and this can affect them in school.
Many eye problems can be traced back to family history. While not a guarantee that someone will experience an issue with their vision if a parent had an eye problem, it certainly is something to be mindful of. Certain chronic illnesses, like diabetes can also predispose people to vision problems.
It is important to protect your eyes from things that can harm them. Doctors recommend wearing sunglasses if you are going to be outdoors during daylight hours for prolonged periods of time. It is also recommended to wear safety glasses if you are going to be working in hazardous environments. Many of us spend long periods of time looking at our computer screens. To avoid problems we should follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every twenty minutes look away from the screen and focus on something twenty feet away for twenty seconds. This will help to prevent the eyes from getting tired and the muscles of the eyes from becoming weak.
Other ways to protect your vision include:
• Regular comprehensive eye exams
• Proper diet (with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and dark leafy vegetables)
• Quit smoking or don’t start
• Maintain a proper weight
• Wash hands before placing or removing contact lenses
The National Eye Institute recommends a regular comprehensive dilated eye exam be performed on a regular basis, usually once a year. If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-5900.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.