Did you know that the eye is the strongest muscle in your body? I didn’t know either until I had the opportunity to hear from Desiree Carrillo-Owen, Medical Advisor for The Vision Council. She gave us some fantastic insight (no pun intended) into what we need to know about eyesight.
October 10th is World Sight Day, a day to remind each other to make annual eye screening appointments and why they are so incredibly important. To those who get regular exams, it may seem like an obvious assignment. However, more than 138 million U.S. adults go without an eye exam and 30 million Americans have uncorrected vision issues. In addition to vision concerns and eye disease, routine eye exams can uncover chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, brain disorders, stroke, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and even some types of cancer.
In all honesty, I would rather have an appointment with the dentist and the gynecologist at the same time than go to the eye doctor. Having my eyes dilated makes me dizzy for hours.
Adults without glasses or contact lenses should have an eye exam every two years. Those with vision impairment should have their eyes examined annually unless your doctor recommends more frequent visits. So even though I despise that dizzy feeling, I go to the eye doctor once a year.
The American Optometric Association recommends that infants receive their first eye exam at 6 months and again at 3 and 5-6 years old. Once your child reaches school age, he or she should be getting an exam every 2 years. Approximately 80% of what our children learn comes through their eyes so it is important to keep up with regular visits. Children with eyeglasses should be examined annually. Growth spurts can also spur a change in a child’s vision, so if you have any concerns, mention them to your doctor.
My son started wearing glasses at 5 years old. It was not an easy transition and took quite a while for him to wear his glasses regularly. What I have learned about kids is that it is important for them to wear sunglasses as UV rays are one of the most damaging factors to one’s eyes. Baseball hats and visors are not enough because UV rays can bounce off of pavement and upwards. UV damage is cumulative and unprotected eyes can cause lifelong damage.
Computers, iPads, eReaders and mobile phones are also causing eye strain to both children and adults. Last year, The Vision Council found that 70 percent of adults experience some form of digital eye strain while using their devices. This blogger knows that well, as I have had to increase the font size on my computer screen.
To help keep your eyes healthy, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise and keep your blood pressure in check. For optimal benefit, your diet should include dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach, as well foods with omega-3 fatty acids.
So on this World Sight Day, take a moment to think about the eye health of yourself and your family. To learn more about vision health/diseases, visit The Vision Council.
Here’s to our eyes!
Disclosure: This post campaign is sponsored by The Vision Council and The Motherhood.