Healthy vision involves several different elements including preventive eye care and appropriate management of existing eye conditions. Prevention begins with your first comprehensive, dilated eye examination.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that infants should have their first eye exam at six months of age and continued yearly from age three unless recommended more frequently by their eye doctor. As children advance in school, the demand for clear vision increases because they spend more time reading and learning. Thus, any visual problems should be addressed at an early age to prevent visual and/or learning problems. Thereafter, management should be continued yearly as children’s (and adult’s) eyes continue to change with development.
With people of all ages spending more time on computers and cell phones, prevention and management of digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome become essential. According to the AOA, eye strain, headaches, and dry eyes are common issues that can result from uncorrected vision problems, glare, bad lighting, and improper viewing distance/posture. A good rule to keep in mind is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet ahead of you for 20 seconds while performing any computer or near work. Moreover, ensure that you are properly being treated for any underlying dry eye disorders and have a pair of glasses with the appropriate computer/near prescription and coatings (ex. AR coating, blue light blocker).
Maintaining good eye health is also necessary to protect against future conditions with exercise and a proper diet. Don’t forget to eat your foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (green leafy vegetables—kale and spinach), antioxidants (Vitamin C and Vitamin E), and omega 3 fatty acids (certain fish—salmon). UV protection (sunglasses, hats, certain contact lenses) helps to prevent against several conditions including photokeratitis, cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygiums. Because these conditions may lack symptoms, especially in the early stages, the importance of yearly dilated eye examinations cannot be stressed enough. You may need to see your eye doctor more often if you present with a family history or other risk factors for conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, retinal detachments, cataracts, and dry eye disease.
Overall, taking care of your eyes may require changes to your everyday habits. Every individual needs a different strategy based on lifestyle, family history, and current ocular/medical conditions. At Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida, we can help you with recommendations to preserve your special eyes!
Written by: Tincy Thomas, O.D.