Becoming blind can evoke fear in almost anyone. Being able to see for a job. Watching your children and grandchildren grow up. Seeing the seasons change. All of these are crucial for almost anyone. That is why the National Eye Institute (NEI) has declared May Healthy Vision Month. As a matter of fact, the NEI wants to draw attention to the 37 million adults in the United States suffering from age-related eye disease that can cause visual impairment or blindness. This can be scary. Luckily, there are some simple things any one at any age can do to help keep their eyesight.
First, get an annual eye exam. In past it was recommended to get a dilated eye exam if you are 65 years or older. At our clinics we offer Retinal Imaging. Retinal imaging is done with an instrument (called an optos) that is painless to the patient. Although, some patients find momentary discomfort when the instrument takes the image of their eye, this method provides a much more comfortable evaluation for many eye diseases and conditions.
Moreover, this instrument provides the optometrist with an image of the back of the eye. The image includes the retina, the optic disk, and blood vessels. Previously, eye doctors used an ophthalmoscope to look at the back of your eye with dilation. Retinal imaging allows the optometrist to get a much wider digital view of the eye. Although it is not a replacement for a full exam, it is a wonderful and useful advancement in technology providing another layer of precision.
Retinal imaging is recommended for all patients. It is specifically important for patients with diabetes, are at risk for macular degeneration or glaucoma. Additionally, optos is important if you are taking any medications that can affect your vision over time. Retinal imaging allows for the doctor to see the back of your eye without the side effects of dilation. Those side effects include blurry vision for up to four hours, light sensitivity, etc. Retinal imaging provides a more comfortable and practical way for opticians to evaluation their patients eyes.
Second, healthy Living. Eat carrots. Well, this may be an old myth, but eating a nutritious diet is not. Diet, weight, and smoking are all contributors to increasing your risk of eye disease. Some foods that boost eye health are leafy greens, fish (specifically cold water), and fruit (particularly citrus). Studies done by the Journal of Ophthalmology show that an individual who consumed a vitamin C rich diet had a decrease in the progressions of cataracts by nearly one third. Furthermore, smoking doubled the risks for age-related macular degeneration and dry eyes.
Third, learn about your family history. Learning more about your heritage is always a fun project. Not only is it exciting to learn where you came from but it’s important for your health too. Certain eye diseases can be inherited. For example, macular degeneration. If you have someone in your immediate family who has suffered from macular degeneration, there is a fifty percent higher chance of developing the condition. Glaucoma is another eye condition that has a higher – four to nine times – risk of development if someone in your family has the condition. Therefore, it is important to speak to your family and know your risks in addition to communicating them to your doctor.
Fourth, protect your eyes. Colorado has 300 days of sun each year. Not to mention there are more annual days of sunshine here than in either San Diego or Miami Beach. Although it is wonderful living in Colorado in the sunshine, exposure to UV rays from the sun can increase your chances of eye diseases and even cancer around your eye. It’s important for all ages to protect their eyes with sunglasses that block out at least 99% of UV rays. If you need stylish protective sunglasses, checkout any of our locations and our opticians will be happy to fit you with something that works for your needs!
About one third of emergency room visits are a result of eye injuries. Hence, it is also important to protect your eyes during sports, hazard working situations, and other times in which your eyes could be at risk. If you need to know what eyewear will be correct for your needs, contact our offices.
Although it can be intimidating to lose your eyesight, we can help! With offices around the state we are able to serve you with your eyesight needs! Call or visit us today for more information.
1535 S. Kipling Parkway – Unit C Lakewood, CO 80232 Adjacent to King Soopers on Kipling in the Lochwood Shopping Center. Phone: 303-937-8655 Fax: 303-937-8675*
1140 Edwards Village Blvd., B-206 Edwards, CO 81632 Behind the Smiling Moose, next to Vail Dermatology & Vail-Summit Orthopedics Phone: 970-926-8474 Fax: 970-926-3634
850 E Valley Rd Basalt, CO 81621 Adjacent to Wholefoods in the Willits Town Center Phone: (970) 927-2020 Fax: (970) 927-2010