Countless Portland residents suffer from some variety of eye ailment – from slight eye fatigue after staring at a computer all day to degenerative issues like cataracts to partial or full blindness. In fact, up to 20 million Americans suffer from some form of vision impairment, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Preventive measures are the best way to keep your eyes healthy and strong. With a few simple steps, residents of the Rose City and surrounding metropolitan area can help protect their vision and keep their eyes in top shape throughout their lives.
Schedule a yearly exam
The first step to ensure healthy vision is to schedule a regular checkup with your eye doctor. A visit to the Ophthalmologist or Optometrist is key to early detection of potential issues. It’s also the best time to ensure your contact or eyeglass prescriptions are up-to-date. If your doctor needs to dilate your eyes as part of the exam, make sure you’ve made proper arrangements beforehand. Dilation does not hurt, but will impact your vision – you’ll want to have sunglasses and a ride home at the ready.
Whether you’re soaking up the sun or crafting a DIY project in the garage, the best way to keep unwanted items out of your eyes is protection. Sunglasses block UV rays, which not only accelerate the formation of cataracts, but also damage sensitive skin around the eyes, leaving them susceptible to cancer formation and premature wrinkles. Make certain your lenses block 100 percent of UV rays.
Safety goggles keep large and small foreign objects out of the eyes. While completing projects on the job or at home, make sure to select the right type of safety goggles. Any foreign particle entering the eye has an opportunity to cause damage.
Maintain healthy habits
Smoking tobacco products has a direct correlation to the increase of both cosmetic and medical concerns with the eyes. Research has shown that smoking can increase your risk of cataracts, cancer and bags under the eyes due to constricted blood vessels. Medical experts at The Portland Clinic have resources available to help you quit if you are currently a smoker and would like help to kick the habit.
Your mom was right, carrots – along with other vegetables – provide the vitamins and nutrients (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, bioflavonoids, etc.) necessary for sustained eye health. A healthy diet is a great way to help maintain good eyesight.
While you’re at it, keep your physical activity up! Studies have shown exercise has a positive effect on vision, potentially reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in more active patients.
Understand your family’s medical history
Genetics may have an influence in the health of your body, regardless of your lifestyle. It is important to disclose your family’s history with eye disease to your eye care professional, to assess any increased risk. Family history of AMD, cataracts, diabetes or glaucoma, among others, are all important to understand for early detection and proper precautions during your checkups.
Following these simple steps will help Portlanders keep their eyesight healthy to enjoy all of our beautiful natural surroundings. If you have any questions or concerns about your or a family members’ eyesight, please do not hesitate to call The Portland Clinic and schedule a checkup at 503-223-3113.