The underlying key concept to take home from this month’s vision topic is: it is important to take care of your eyes. Without proper vision it becomes difficult to read, drive, and be an active member of one’s communities. Prevention and protection are the key elements to maintaining proper eye and vision health throughout one’s life. As we age, vision impairment becomes more common and women, minority groups, and individuals with chronic diseases such as diabetes are at a higher risk for developing them. However, many eye problems and diseases can be treated IF caught early!
The CDC’s Vision Health Initiative partnered with the National Eye Institute to motivate people to make vision a health priority. They key-noted 9 ways to protect your vision in order to keep your eyes as healthy as possible throughout your lifetime. They are as follows:
- Get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams, as recommended by your health care provider.
- Know your family’s eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition, since many are hereditary.
- 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.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home such as painting, yard work and home repairs.
- Quit smoking or never start.
- Wear sunglasses that block 99% – 100% of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
- Clean your hands prior to taking out contacts and be sure to cleanse your contact lenses properly to avoid the risk of infection.
- Practice workplace eye safety.
The American Optometric Association has specified examination frequency recommendations for adult patients. Patients that are 18-60 years old and are asymptomatic or risk free should receive an exam every two years whereas those that are at risk should receive one every one or two years as recommended by their physician. Patients 61 years or older that are asymptomatic or risk free should receive an exam every year whereas at risk patients should receive one every year or as recommended by their physician. Patients at risk are those with diabetes, hypertension, a family history of ocular disease (e.g. glaucoma, macular degeneration), those working in high demanding visually or eye hazardous occupations, taking prescription or nonprescription drugs with ocular side effects, wearing contact lenses, who have had eye surgery, or with other health concerns or conditions.Dr. Alison is a member of the team of Naturopathic Physicians at AIM, and is currently accepting new patients on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Check out her bio on our website, www.alpineintegratedmedicine.com!