May is Vision Health Month, a chance to reflect on how you're treating your eyes, and how you could improve your eye care routines. Your eyes can be difficult to monitor. When it comes to our overall health, our bodies often let us know when there's a problem. Unfortunately, our eyes aren't quite the same as other parts of our body. In fact, for some eye diseases and conditions, noticeable symptoms don’t begin to surface until later stages. They can, however, still be detected early using advanced technology during an eye exam, which is why regular check-ups are so important!
So how can you measure your ocular health? There are certain habits you can incorporate into your daily life that can promote healthy vision; check them out below and see how many you’re already doing.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that adults get a comprehensive eye exam every two years from a qualified optometrist. Children, seniors, and anyone with a medical condition or family history of eye disease should get an exam at least once a year to ensure there are no developmental issues and that their vision hasn't deteriorated. If you notice any unusual changes in your vision, symptoms related to eye strain or allergies for example, it’s important to get in touch with an eyecare professional. Whether or not you’ve noticed changes, regular exams are still recommended to monitor your eye health.
According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, people who smoke are up to 4 times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a severe medical condition that is currently one of the leading causes of vision loss among Canadians. If you’re a non-smoker, you’re already taking one step closer to maintaining your vision health.
High blood pressure and obesity are both risk factors for a variety of eye diseases, so diet and exercise are important to your ocular health. In fact, recent studies have found that foods such as leafy greens, nuts and whole grains contain antioxidants that can promote your eye health and reduce the risk of developing certain conditions.
Many people only think about wearing sunglasses in the spring or summer. UV rays, however, are active all year. Exposure could result in cataracts, cancer, or other serious eye conditions. Wearing sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection year -round is the best way to maintain your healthy vision.
According to Health Canada, every day over 700 Canadians sustain eye injuries on the job, many of which result in serious vision loss and even blindness. In the majority of these cases, however, injuries could have been easily prevented with the use of protective eyewear. To support your eye health and safety, visit this resource from the Government of Canada to help you select a pair of safety glasses that will best suit your profession.
If you work in an office setting, it’s also important to take a break from your computer screens to avoid eye strain. Learn more on how you can protect your vision from your devices.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 40 – 90% of people do not properly follow their optometrist's contact lens instructions, which can result in serious infections or other complications. A simple way to make sure you have healthy eyes is to follow the directions that your optometrist provides.
Sleeping with your eye makeup on can cause irritation or styes that may require treatment. To ensure your eye health, use gentle eyelid wipes, formulated specifically for this delicate area, to remove traces of your cosmetics.
Sleep is also important for healthy vision. The minimum amount of sleep required to rest your eyes is 5 hours a night. However, the government of Canada recommends people aged 18-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep a night while 65+ individuals should aim for 7-8 hours. Without proper rest you could notice dry eye symptoms or eye spasms.
To learn more about your vision health or to address any of your eye care concerns, call an FYidoctors near you.