Posted May 5, 2011
Recognizing Healthy Vision Month, May 2011
Millions of Americans have problems with their eyes every year, including vision correction needs and eye diseases or injuries. Many issues can be corrected, while others can cause permanent vision loss or blindness.
Each year between 1.6 and 2.4 million Americans sustain injuries to their eyes at home, on the job or during sports activities. Of this group, an estimated 40,000 will be legally blind in the injured eye.
Surprisingly, 90 percent of these injuries could have been prevented if protective eyewear had been worn.
Consider these statistics from the National Eye Institute:
- Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States
- Every 13 minutes an emergency room in the U.S. treats a sports-related eye injury
- Approximately 27 percent of all eye injuries in children ages 11 to 14 are sports-related
- Nearly half (44.7 percent) of all eye injuries occur in the home while individuals are engaged in home repairs, yard work, cleaning or cooking
- Ultraviolet light radiation from the sun can damage eyes, often creating problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration as individuals age
- The most common eye injuries are abrasions, lacerations or irritation
To keep your vision healthy throughout life, follow these guidelines:
- Schedule a comprehensive eye examination on a regular basis – Eye care professionals will thoroughly evaluate your eyes for vision concerns to help you see better and look for early signs of eye diseases
- Know your family’s eye care history – Maintain a record of eye diseases experienced by family members and share this information with your eye care professional; some diseases may have genetic connections
- Follow a nutritious diet and maintain healthy weight – Medical research has identified many foods that help protect or enhance your vision; maintaining a healthy weight may lower your risk of developing diabetes and other health conditions that can contribute to eye diseases
- Use protective eye wear – Maintain your vision throughout life by using recommended protective eye wear when playing sports, working on projects or spending time outdoors
- Watch for Computer Vision Syndrome – When working on a computer for an extended time, blink frequently to avoid eye strain and dry eyes; take short breaks to give your eyes a rest
The American Association of Ophthalmology recommends the following guidelines for scheduling a comprehensive eye exam.
- First exam at 6 months of age, another at age 3, and again when starting grade school
- Children without vision concerns should have eye exams every two years until age 18
- Those with vision risk factors may need an exam before 6 months of age, with more frequent appointments as recommended by their eye doctor
- Under age 40, every 5 to 10 years
- 40 to 54 years of age, every 2 to 4 years
- 55 to 64 years of age, every 1 to 3 years
- 65 years of age or older, every 1 to 2 years
Since individuals have different eye care needs based on family, medical and vision history, follow your eye doctor’s recommendations for scheduling regular exams.
Have you experienced any problems with your eyes? What treatment solution did you pursue? – Karen Gustin, Ameritas Group