May is a beautiful month, and here in sunny south Florida, even more so. May is also the time to spread awareness about eye health and vision because it’s Healthy Vision month! Your eyesight is so precious, and if you feel your vision is fine, it can be easy to take it for granted.
As we age, our risk for vision loss from eye diseases increases, and certain conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can become sight-threatening even for younger people. That said, there are some things you can do to protect your healthy eyes and vision! In honor of Healthy Vision month, we will share our top tips on how you can protect your eyes.
Protect your eyes from the sun.
We get plenty of sunshine here in beautiful Pembroke Pines and we enjoy it, but exposure to the UV rays of the sun can be very harmful for your skin and your eyes.
Protect your eyes from the dangerous UV rays from the sun by consistently wearing quality sunglasses that block 100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays when you are spending time outside at the beach, or while fishing, or driving. Everyone needs to wear quality sunglasses, including adults, children, and babies.
Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat if you’re going to be spending a good deal of time outside to give your eyes even more protection from those rays.
Know your family’s health history.
The next time you’re spending time with extended family or perhaps on a family group chat, ask if anyone in the family has or had age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, or glaucoma, and be sure to share that information with your eye doctor at your next eye exam, as this could mean an increase in risk for you.
Live a healthy lifestyle.
Nutrition and eye health go hand in hand! Eat plenty of fruits and colorful or dark green vegetables, and that will help you maintain healthy eyes and vision. According to the American Optometric Association, researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, to reducing the risk of certain serious eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. You can find these antioxidants in green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and a lot of other foods.
If you smoke, plan to ditch the habit for good. Smoking is terrible for your entire body, and that includes your eyes. Smoking puts you at an increased risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, which leads to a blind spot in your central vision, as well as cataracts and glaucoma. If you have dry eye, smoking can worsen your symptoms.
Get regular exercise. Exercise is good for your eye health, too! Many eye diseases are related to high blood pressure and diabetes, and regular exercise can help. Aim to exercise at least 3 – 4 times each week.
Wear protective eyewear when appropriate.
If you work in an environment which requires you to wear safety glasses, do so. If you are doing work around the house or in the yard, wear protective eyewear. If you are an athlete or if your kids play sports, make sure they are wearing appropriate protective eyewear for the activity. Protecting your eyes from injury is one of the best and simplest things you can do to maintain healthy eyes and vision.
Pay attention to changes in your vision.
If you notice you no longer see as clearly, schedule an appointment with us. You may simply need an updated prescription for your eyeglasses or contact lenses, but there may be other issues causing the change, as well, which can only be diagnosed in an eye exam.
If you notice a sudden increase in the number of eye floaters, have eye pain or red eyes, or are seeing flashes of light, call us right away as these could be signs of a more serious eye problem which requires immediate attention.
Get regular comprehensive eye exams.
Some eye diseases have little to no symptoms in the early stages, and the best way to detect them early on is by having them examined by an eye doctor. Even if you feel you can see just fine, its’s vital to come in on a regular basis to have your eyes checked.
Your doctor can spot health issues through an eye exam of which you may not be aware, because the eyes are the only place in your body where the blood vessels are visible, so getting your eyes examined regularly is not only good for your vision, but for your overall health. At The Eye Center in Pembroke Pines, our Optometric Physicians provide expert eye and vision care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to maintain your healthy eyes and vision and protect your precious gift of sight.