When it comes to our overall health, our bodies use symptoms to let us know there's a problem. Unfortunately, most eye conditions or diseases are symptomless at the outset. Often, people assume they have healthy eyes when that may not be the case. It is only when health deteriorates past a certain point that signs start to appear, like headaches, eye pain, worsening vision or blind spots. By the time that happens, it’s too late to completely reverse the damage, risking loss of sight to at least some degree.
On the bright side, conditions can usually be treated, resulting in no permanent damage, but only with early detection. This is why regular eye exams are critical. With advancements in technology, detection is getting easier and faster, and growing in scope.
Apart from regular visits to your eye doctor, there are certain habits and behaviours you can incorporate into your daily life that can promote healthy vision.
Take a look at our vision health month checklist below to see how you’re doing on the prevention front:
According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, people who smoke are up to four 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 one step closer to maintaining optimal eye 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. Take a look through our recipes , where we share tasty eye-smart dishes that are packed with vitamins to give your ocular health a boost.
Many people only think about wearing sunglasses for eye protection in the spring or summer. However, UV rays are active all year. Sitting by a bright window, especially while working from home, can have the same effects as taking a walk outside. Snow reflects 80 per cent of the sun’s UV light, which means the rays are getting you from above and below. Winter sun can do just as much damage as a sunny summer day, if not more, as most people aren’t prepared. 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 healthy vision.
Whether it’s working at home or at an office, there are many risks to your eyes. According to Health Canada, every day more than 700 Canadians sustain eye injuries on the job, many of which result in serious vision loss. Injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear. The Government of Canada has great resources on eye protection, including tips 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 understand the impact of blue light and how it impacts your vision. Take a break from your computer screens to avoid eye strain and learn about the types and benefits of different lens coatings. Working from home can significantly impact your eye health. Optimizing your workspace can be just as important for your eyes as a pair of protective goggles.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 40 – 90 per cent 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.
While allergies can be tedious to avoid during certain seasonal changes, there are many factors you can control indoors and with proper medications. Monitoring your pollen, pet dander, or dust particles at home can go a long way in reducing chronic inflammation that may impact your eye health over time. Our blog on protecting your eyes from allergies is the perfect place to start fighting long-term eye inflammation and learning how to control pollutants that could impact your eyes.
Sleeping with your eye makeup on can cause eye irritation or styes that may require treatment. To ensure your eye health, use gentle products in your nighttime and morning routines. Make sure everything touching your eyes is formulated specifically for this delicate area.
Sleep maintenance is important for healthy vision. The minimum amount of sleep recommended to let your eyes rest and your cells regenerate is 5 hours a night. The government of Canada recommends people aged 18-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep a night while individuals over the age of 65 should aim for 7-8 hours. Sleep deprivation can lead to dry eye, eye spasms and eye blurriness, with more serious problems like glaucoma developing over time.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommend that adults get a comprehensive eye exam every two years from a qualified optometrist for routine eye care. Children, seniors, and anyone with medical conditions or a family history of eye disease should get an exam at least once a year. This ensures there is no ongoing deterioration or developmental issues.
If you notice any unusual changes in your vision, it is important to get in touch with an eye care professional to properly assess your complete eye care. Whether or not you’ve noticed changes, regular exams are still recommended to monitor your eye health.
To learn more about your vision health or to address any of your eye care concerns, find a local FYidoctors.