May 1, 2014

May is Healthy Vision Month

Photo: A closeup of a human eye
May is Healthy Vision Month.   Even after vision loss there are things that people can do to take care of their remaining vision.  Here are some tips from the National Eye Institute:
Get a dilated eye exam. Getting a dilated eye exam is the only way to catch eye diseases early, because with many, there are no warning signs.  Even after being diagnosed with vision loss, it is still important to monitor your eye health for changes. It is also equally vital to continue to be screened for other potential eye diseases. An annual eye exam is your opportunity to learn from your eye doctor if there have been any recent advances in treatments or rehabilitation that may benefit you.  Talk to your eye care professional about how often you should have an exam.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, managing chronic conditions, and not smoking can lower your risk of eye disease and maintain your current level of vision.  If you have diabetes, closely monitor your blood sugar.  Take all of your medications as recommended, including medications for you ocular health.  Talk to your doctor, especially if you notice any changes in your vision.
Know your family history. Talk to your family members about eye health history. It’s important for you and them to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease, since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you or they are at higher risk for developing an eye disease.
Use protective eyewear. Protect your eyes when doing chores around the house, playing sports, or on the job to prevent eye injuries from happening. This includes wearing safety glasses, goggles, safety shields, and eye guards that are made of polycarbonate.
Wear sunglasses. Make sure your sunglasses block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation, so you can keep maintain your vision and eye health.  Be sure to properly care for the lenses as this UV protection is often a coating on the lenses.  Always place sunglasses in a case if you are not wearing them.  If the UV coating is scratched you may be letting UVA and UVB radiation leak through the lenses and damage your vision.  A hat with a brim of at least 3 inches can offer further glare reduction as well.  And remember, if you have been issued a pair of sunglasses from the VA you can contact your VIST Coordinator for repairs and/or replacement as needed.

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