Eight Ways To Protect Your Eyesight

Sight-threatening eye problems affect one in six adults aged 45 and older. And the risk for vision loss increases with age. In fact, a recent American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) report estimates that more than 43 million Americans will develop age-related eye diseases by the year 2020.

Tips for protecting your eyes

To protect your eyesight and keep your eyes healthy as you age, consider these simple guidelines:

1.   Be aware of your risk for eye diseases. Find out about your family’s health history. Do you or any of your family suffer from diabetes or have high blood pressure? Are you over the age of 65? Are you an African-American over the age of 40? Any or all of these traits increase your risk for sight-threatening eye diseases. Regular eye exams can detect problems early and help preserve your eyesight.

2.   Have regular exams to check for diabetes and high blood pressure. If left untreated, these diseases can cause eye problems. In particular, diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

3.   Look for changes in your vision. If you start noticing changes in your vision, see your eye doctor immediately. Trouble signs include double vision, hazy vision and difficulty seeing in low light conditions. Other signs to look for are frequent flashes of light, floaters, and eye pain and swelling. All of these signs and symptoms can indicate a potential eye health problem that needs immediate attention.

4.   Exercise more frequently. According to the AAO, some studies suggest that regular exercise – such as walking – can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by up to 70%.

5.   Protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. You should always wear sunglasses with proper UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. This may reduce your risk of cataracts and other eye damage.

6.   Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Numerous studies have shown that antioxidants can possibly reduce the risk of cataracts. These antioxidants are obtained from eating a diet containing plentiful amounts of fruits and colorful or dark green vegetables. Studies have also shown that eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may also prevent macular degeneration.

7.   Get your eyes checked at least every two years. A thorough eye exam, including dilating your pupils, can detect major eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, which has no early warning signs or symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam also can ensure that your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses is accurate and up-to-date.

8.  Don’t smoke. The many dangers of smoking have been well documented. When it comes to eye health, people who smoke are at greater risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Following these steps is no guarantee of perfect vision throughout your lifetime. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having regular eye exams will certainly decrease your risk of sight-stealing eye problems and help you enjoy your precious gift of eyesight to the fullest.

For more information on ways to protect eyesight visit AllAboutVision.com.

| By: Eye Center | Category: Vision Over 60 | Comments Off

Are Contact Lenses a Good Choice for Kids?

A common question many parents have about contact lenses and kids is: “When is my child old enough to wear contact lenses?”

Physically, your child’s eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. Some babies are fitted with contact lenses due to eye conditions present at birth. And in a recent study that involved fitting nearsighted children of ages 8-11 with one-day disposable contact lenses, 90% had no trouble applying or removing the contacts without assistance from their parents.

A matter of maturity

So the important question is whether or not your child is mature enough to insert, remove and take care of their contact lenses. How they handle other responsibilities at home will give you a clue. If your child has poor grooming habits and needs frequent reminders to perform everyday chores, they may not be ready for the responsibility of wearing and caring for contact lenses. But if they are conscientious and handle these things well, they may be excellent candidates for contact lens wear, regardless of their age.

Contact lenses for sports

Many kids are active in sports. Contact lenses offer several advantages over glasses for these activities. Contacts don’t fog up, get streaked with perspiration or get knocked off like glasses can. They also provide better peripheral vision than glasses, which is important for nearly every sport. There are even contact lenses with special tints to help your child see the ball easier.

For sports, soft contact lenses are usually the best choice. They are larger and fit closer to the eye than rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses, so there’s virtually no chance they will dislodge or get knocked off during competition.

Controlling nearsightedness

If your young son or daughter is nearsighted, rigid gas permeable (GP) contacts may be the best choice. In some cases, GP contact lenses may slow the progression of myopia in children. (Soft lenses don’t offer this potential benefit.) Also, GP lenses are more durable and often provide sharper vision than soft contacts.

Building self-esteem with contact lenses

Contact lenses can do wonders for some children’s self-esteem. Many kids don’t like the way they look in glasses and become overly self-conscious about their appearance because of them. Wearing contact lenses can often elevate how they feel about themselves and improve their self confidence. Sometimes, even their school performance and participation in social activities improves after they switch to contact lenses.

Glasses are still required

If your child chooses to wear contact lenses, they still need an up-to-date pair of eyeglasses. Contact lenses worn on a daily basis should be removed at least an hour before bedtime to allow the eyes to “breathe.” Also, there will be times when your child may want to wear their glasses instead of contact lenses. And contact lenses should be removed immediately any time they cause discomfort or eye redness.

Don’t push contacts on your kids

Motivation is often the most important factor in determining whether your son or daughter will be a successful contact lens wearer. If you wear contact lenses yourself and love them, that still doesn’t mean they are the right choice for your child. Some children like wearing glasses and have no desire wear contact lenses.

We can usually tell at your child’s contact lens consultation if they really want to wear contact lenses. If it appears that they would rather stay in glasses, we will certainly respect their decision – and you should, too.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. Often, a child may feel they don’t want contacts, but a year or two later, they do. There’s always time to make that decision.

When your child is ready to try contacts

When you and your child agree it’s time for contacts, call our office to schedule a contact lens consultation. We welcome the opportunity to help kids of all ages enjoy wearing contact lenses.

For more information on children’s contacts, visit AllAboutVision.com.

| By: Eye Center | Category: Children's Vision | Comments Off