May is a month when the weather warms and things are blossoming. It’s almost the end of the school year, and the kids are getting ready for summer fun. But did you also know that May is Eye Health Month? After all, you want your eyes to enjoy the beauty that is all around you as well as have healthy eyes to participate in your favorite things; that could be viewing a computer screen, attending family sports events or reading to a small child. May is the time to think about your eyes as summer is about to begin. Did you know that 80% of the information delivered to you each day comes from your eyes?
The National Institute of Health and the National Eye Institute have some suggestions to help you celebrate Healthy Vision Month. Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute would also like you to know more about how important eye health is to your enjoyment of life every day. Both at work and at play, eyesight matters in seeing and enjoying all that is around you, including your job and loved ones.
Some ways to keep eyes healthy
- Get regular eye exams
- Know the eye health history of your family
- Protect your eyes while working and playing
- Give your eyes a rest
- Wear sunglasses, including on cloudy days
- Eat vision-healthy foods
- Keep an ideal weight
- Get regular physical activity
- Stop smoking or never start to smoke
Eye exams – many Americans have never had an eye exam because their eyes feel healthy. However, they could be seeing better with contacts or glasses, even if they feel good. Additionally, some serious eye diseases often have little warning signs, so it is best to have a comprehensive eye exam to keep on top of the health of your eyes. Children might also need a comprehensive exam as well as the traditional eye chart that they receive in school testing.
Family eye health history – if you are at risk for eye disease, after talking to your family, get your eyes examined. Some diseases can run in a family; you may not just get your eye color from your family but can inherit a risk for certain eye diseases.
Protect your eyes – while at work, wear safety goggles, safety glasses or shields. According to the National Eye Institute, “..people with sports-related eye injuries end up in the ER every 13 minutes!”
It is known that, when playing sports, protection of your eyes can be very important. Many eyewear stores also sell protective lenses that are made of polycarbonate, a plastic that is 10 times stronger than many other plastics that are out there. You might also find specific eye guards that are made for that particular sport; they can often be found in local sporting goods stores.
Give a rest to your eyes – if you spend a good deal of time on the computer and your eyes ache at the end of the day, you may be forgetting to blink or take breaks to refocus. There is a 20-20-20 rule that is mentioned in reducing eye strain: Every 20 minutes look away from the work you are doing and focus 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. At the end of the day, your eyes will feel better and less strained.
Wear sunglasses on both sunny and cloudy days – wearing sunglasses not only makes you look cool but protects your eyes from ultraviolet rays, even on cloudy days. This will help keep your eyes healthy while enabling sharp vision. Your shades should block 99% of both UVB and UVA radiation.
Eat vision-healthy foods – foods like salmon, tuna and halibut are high in omega-3 fatty acids and can help protect vision. It is true that you should eat your carrots, as they are good for your eyes. Other vegetables, like kale and spinach, can help keep your eyes healthy as well.
Keep an ideal weight – those who are overweight or obese have a higher tendency towards diabetes, which with other health problems can lead to loss of vision. Talk to your doctor regarding solutions if you are concerned about your weight.
Get regular physical activity – regular physical activity has great benefits; you can boost your mood, reduce stress, maintain a healthy weight and increase protection from serious eye disease. A quick walk, biking or dancing gets your heart beating faster and will help keep your eyes healthy.
Clean contact lenses and glasses thoroughly – this prevents infection. Hands should be washed before putting or taking out contact lenses. Be sure to replace them as instructed, according to the wearing schedule and the type of lens that they are.
Quit smoking or do not start – as well as being bad for the rest of your body, smoking is also harmful to your eyes. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, scientific research has shown that smokers have an increased risk of developing cataracts, optic nerve damage, and age-related macular degeneration; all these conditions can lead to blindness if not corrected.
Celebrate your eyes in May
Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute want you to know that you can celebrate May and Healthy Vision Month by getting an eye exam and letting family and friends know about the importance of eye health. Keeping your eyes healthy and strong is a year-round activity that you can do. Family members should also be aware of eye health and how to maintain it with protection, such as sunglasses or guards for sports.
A comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect such diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic eye disease. Dilation of the eyes involves a few drops put in the eyes for them to dilate; this allows widening of the pupil, letting the eyecare professional to examine the back of the eyes for any damage or signs of disease.
You can schedule an eye exam at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute for anyone in your family. We have pediatric eye specialists to examine children as well as a team of physicians to treat adults. We are Tampa Bay’s leader in eye care since 1981 and provide personal service while using the latest technologies and knowledge.
Our personal service at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute allows us to see patients as part of our family, as we deliver eye care with excellence. With convenient locations and office hours throughout the Tampa area, we make getting to your appointment easy.
Celebrate May by being kind to your eyes and coming in for an eye exam. Then enjoy the approach of summer with family and friends and your best eyesight. Please note: Not all tips will work for everyone; this article should not replace in-person medical treatment.
Give us a call to schedule an appointment for an eye exam at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute.