Recently, The New York Timesreported that Americans consider loss of eyesight to be a worse ailment than, say, conditions such as losing a limb, your memory, hearing, speech or even having HIV/AIDS (Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins University School of Medicine).
What’s more sobering? Some 23.7 million American adults reported not being able to see at all or having trouble seeing even with the help of corrective lenses. This number is projected to double by 2050. Why? The aging population and the anticipated increase of diseases that can cause vision loss.
Yet, the 2,044 Americans interviewed for the Wilmer Eye Institute’s national study are unaware of the diseases and factors that can risk their vision and steps they might take to lower that risk.
Having your eyesight means a good quality of life. If you want your future to include healthy eyes and vision, consider renewing your commitment to your vision health:
Get an annual eye exam
You may already have annual visits to the doctor and dentist penciled on your calendar for next year. Did you know it’s just as important that you get your eyes and vision tested annually? Not only to keep your prescription current if you wear eyeglasses or contacts, but also to check for early signs of eye disease such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, andchronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
And in case you think everything’s okay with your eyes, it doesn’t mean you should skip your visit to the eye doctor. With many diseases, there are no noticeable signs or symptoms and only by coming in for a thorough exam can we detect them. Fortunately, early diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems can often help prevent loss of eyesight.
We are all familiar with the fact that sitting in front of a computer screen can strain our eyes and cause headaches. That’s why it’s important to rest your eyes often – look away from the screen every few minutes – and take frequent breaks from the computer. You also want to make sure you have adequate lighting that doesn’t reflect off the computer screen. Driving at night can also cause eyestrain. If you wear glasses, get a pair with anti-reflection coating to reduce the glare from street lights and headlights in oncoming traffic.
Protect your eyes from injuries
The cornea (the transparent layer at the front of the eye) is needs adequate protection at all times. When you’re out in the sun, wear sunglasses that offer ultraviolet light protection. If you’re outdoors doing DIY or gardening, wear protective goggles. You might also want to consider wearing safety glasses while playing sports such as tennis or, if you swim and wear contacts or glasses, consider prescription goggles (never wear contacts in water).
Eat a healthy diet with food that’s good for your vision
Do you eat your five-a-day? As notedhere, people who eat a healthy diet that includes lots fruits and vegetables – one that’s also low in saturated fats and sugar – can usually get all the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy eyes and healthy vision. However, by adding certain powerhouse foods to your grocery shopping basket, you can be sure you get the right nutrients you need for healthy eyes.
Consider LASIK eye surgery
If you’re fed up with wearing contacts and prescription glasses, 2017 might be the year for you to consider having LASIK surgery. The surgical procedure uses a laser to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism so you can have excellent vision without having to deal with the hassles of corrective lenses.
The trouble with commitments, as we all know, is that as the year progresses, we find it hard to stick to our goals. If this applies to you, prioritize your health and put doing good things for your eyes at the top. After all, without good vision, you won’t be able to enjoy many of the things you do now.