Those Pretty Blues: Keep The Gift

This post is written by guest writer David Neel, Territory Manager for Health Calls Low Vision Works program.


Is there a more precious sense than the gift of sight? A recent survey cited blindness as a most feared condition among adults, second only to cancer. The good news is that, aside from inheriting an unfortunate disease in your genes or a traumatic injury, the eyes are a fairly low-maintenance organ to keep operating smoothly.

Here are some of the basics:

Annual Eye Exams
Even if you don’t require correction for your vision, it is critical that you visit an eye care professional no less than every two years regardless of your age (annual if over 40).

Did you know that a retina exam with an ophthalmoscope can detect brain tumors? Keep in mind that the vast majority of eye conditions are NOT accompanied by any pain or discomfort and subtle changes in your vision can be undetectable. Technologies are constantly improving.

A new test, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), gives a more detailed view of the retina which is the area of the eye responsible for interpreting light rays and sending them to the brain. This test can can help identify disease earlier and allow for faster treatment.

Commit yourself to your eye doctor’s recommendations, whether it’s a prescription for a drop to treat Glaucoma (that can lead to total blindness if left untreated) or an over the counter contact lens cleaning solution.

Sun Protection
Sounds pretty simple. I required glasses for most of my adult life and rarely wore sunglasses and have now developed a cataract in one eye that could be a result of UV over-exposure. The transitional lenses that react to light and darken “on demand” are not sufficient for blocking the most damaging light rays from the sun.

Look for sunglasses that block 100% of the UV rays and now you want to seek out protection from HEV rays, high energy visible radiation which is shown to increase your chances of contracting Macular Degeneration. Look for a wraparound style that will maximize your protection and wear them even on cloudy days.

Clearly, beta-carotene and leafy greens are a boon to the health of your eyes and can be found in your produce aisle. Best if steamed lightly, but if you must rely on convenience, then go frozen over canned. Along with other key ocular supplements containing harder to find in food Lutein and Zeaxanthin, you can keep your eyes healthy for years and stave off major diseases. If you are at risk for Macular Degeneration there are supplements that have been found to slow the progression.

Technology Overload
While looking for the latest diagnostic equipment at your eyecare professional’s office is important, the new technologies in our everyday lives have an unknown impact on the long term health of our eyes. Young eyes straining to read text messages on handheld devices, constantly staring at HD screens from inches away leads to…..? The research is pending….but BLINK BLINK BLINK and take a break to look away from your screen. Experts recommend at least every 15 minutes if not more.

Latest vision research includes an implantable telescope to assist those afflicted with Macular Degeneration. Another study suggests that more outdoor exposure in children can minimize nearsightedness.

Keep your EYES out for more news from the ocular front…

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