Healthy Vision Month and the CDC’s Vision Health Initiative (VHI) is partnering with the National Eye Institute to encourage all Americans to make vision a health priority. Vision impairment becomes more common as people age. Women, minority groups, and people with chronic diseases like diabetes may be at higher risk for having vision impairment. The number of Americans 40 years and older with diabetic retinopathy and vision threatening retinopathy will triple in 2050; from 5.5 million to 16 million and from 1.2 million to 3.4 million respectively. While some eye conditions, like cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration, can cause vision loss and even blindness, others, such as refractive errors, are common problems that can be easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
It’s important to take care of your eyes. Poor vision makes it harder to read, drive, and cook. The good news—many eye problems and diseases can be treated if caught early. To make sure you keep seeing clearly, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. An eye care professional will examine your eyes for signs of vision problems or eye diseases. It’s the best way to find out if you need glasses or contacts, or are in the early stages of a serious but treatable eye disease.
What to Expect From a Dilated Eye Exam
- Your eye care professional will place drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye—the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room.
- This process offers a good look at the back of the eyes, so they can be examined for any signs of damage or disease.
- Your close-up vision may remain blurry for a few hours after the exam.
Nine Ways to Help Protect Your Vision
The best option is to keep your eyes as healthy as possible throughout your lifetime.
- Get a dilated eye exam.
- Know your family’s eye health history.
- 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.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home.
- Quit smoking. Or never start.
- Wear sunglasses that block 99%–100% of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
- Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly to avoid the risk of infection.
- Practice workplace eye safety.
Problems Can Begin at Any Age
Although most Americans who have vision problems are aged 65 years or older, even preschoolers may not see as well as they should. Young children may be nearsighted, which means distant objects look blurred. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct nearsightedness and help people see better.
Another cause of vision problems in young children is amblyopia, which affects 2%–4% of preschoolers. Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is poor vision in one eye that is otherwise physically normal. Treatment for amblyopia includes finding the condition early, and using a patch or eye drops to give the stronger eye a rest and to strengthen the weaker eye.
For older Americans, vision loss usually comes from diseases tied to aging, including macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. A dilated eye exam is the only way to find these diseases in the early stages, and it will also find vision problems that can be corrected, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia, in which eyes gradually lose the ability to focus on close objects, such as the text in a newspaper.
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 stroke, as well as have increased risk for falls, injury and depression. Among people aged 65 years and older, 54.2% of those who are blind and 41.7% of those with impaired vision say their overall health is fair or poor.
Visit an Eye Care Professional if…
- Decreased vision.
- Eye pain.
- Drainage or redness of the eye.
- Double vision.
- Flashes of light.
- Floaters (tiny specks that appear to float before your eyes).
- Circles, or halos, around light sources.
To read the original article published on cdc.gov, click here
“Your Eyes Are For Life, So Take Care Of Them.”
20/20 Eyeglass Superstore is encouraging all American to do one thing that could save your loved ones sight: Get an eye health examination from a Doctor of Optometry.
Call today to book an eye health examination for yourself and your loved ones! Or drop in to any of our 20/20 Eyeglass Superstore.
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