It’s a known fact that we get our eye color from our parents. But did you know that your eye health can be hereditary, too?
That’s why during Healthy Vision Month, and all year long, you should talk to your family members, including parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, about THEIR eye health history. You might be surprised to learn that genes are a factor in eye disease, including the leading causes of blindness.
In order to keep your eye health on the straight and narrow, learn if anyone in your family history has been diagnosed with an eye disease. This will help determine if you’re at a higher risk for developing an eye disease yourself.
So while you may have “Your Father’s Eyes”, you may end up with his eye conditions too.
If you think you might be at risk, or if it’s been a while since you’ve had an eye exam, like more than a year or two, you owe it to your future family members to have a comprehensive eye exam. Call or click here to schedule yours.
We’ve cautioned over the years about the hazards of smoking, but in this article for Healthy Vision Month, here are the specifics as to why so many serious vision problems could be lessened or eliminated if we just put down the cigarettes, and that includes cigars and pipes.
Dry Eye is not directly related to smoking, but it’s easy to see how smoking can make your eyes feel scratchy, burn or turn red.
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural clear lens. Because smoke from cigarettes goes directly into the bloodstream, smokers are more at risk for getting cataracts.
AMD, or age related macular degeneration, is more likely to happen to someone who smokes than to someone who doesn’t. Currently there is NO cure for AMD.
Diabetic retinopathy can occur in smokers who already have diabetes.
Optic nerve problems can lead to blindness, and those who smoke are at increased risk of having optic nerve problems.
Uveitis affects the part of the eye called the uvea. Smoking can lead to uveitis.
Graves’ disease is a disease of the body’s thyroid gland. One symptom is bulging eyes. Smokers who have Graves’ disease run the risk of going blind.
Pregnant women who smoke run the risk of their child getting bacterial meningitis, known to cause vision problems. Premature birth is another symptom, which could result in “retinopathy of prematurity”, which could mean vision loss or blindness.
The simple truth: Quitting smoking can help save your vision, and during Healthy Vision Month, it’s more important than ever to know this information.
This month, you might be seeing lots of tips and suggestions for Healthy Vision Month, but before you take them all in, take yourself in for a comprehensive eye exam.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a baseline eye exam at age 40. That’s the time when early signs of disease and changes in your vision can start to occur. Do you have a family history of eye problems? Do you have diabetes or high blood pressure? These can factor into your decision to have an eye exam more frequently.
Upon examining your eyes, your ophthalmologist can tell you how often you should undergo an eye exam. As we age, it’s more important to have our eyes checked regularly as our risk for eye disease increases.
If you are or have been at risk, or you are 65 years or older, it’s recommended that you schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This important exam can take up to 90 minutes and should include the following:
- A rundown of your family medical history, whether you wear glasses or contacts and which medication, if any, you take.
- Visual acuity. Reading a standard eye chart at various distances.
- Your pupils and how they respond to light shined in.
- Side vision.
- Eye movement.
- Your eye pressure, which can indicate signs of glaucoma.
- The front part of your eye.
- Your retina and optic nerve.
- And your current vision prescription.
Depending upon the results of your eye exam, your ophthalmologist may conduct further tests using specialized equipment to try and diagnose a disease in its early stages or give you a clean bill of health. Either way, don’t overlook the opportunity to have your eyes checked. Maybe this month is the time.
If you’d like to schedule a baseline eye exam or a comprehensive dilated eye exam, please contact us today!
Healthy Vision Month is all this month, so while it’s top of mind, here are some ways to help keep your vision healthy all year long.
The first one is to pop on a pair of shades that offer 100% UV protection to block UV-A and UV-B rays. Sunglasses help prevent retina damage too and protect the delicate eyelid skin, plus they make you look CSI-Miami cool.
Smoking is a no-no on every list we make. Studies have shown that smokers are more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers. We could write an entire article on the hazards of smoking, but enough said: QUIT NOW.
Proper eye protection is a biggie. Just look over our April blogs for more detailed information on which protection is best for your particular needs, then get them.
Have a family reunion with your family history. Sure, summer’s coming. We love to get together for grillin’ and relaxing, but take time during that opportunity to get to know your family’s medical history to see if you can ward off any genetic eye problems before they occur, then, early intervention with a comprehensive dilated eye-exam can be just what the (eye) doctor ordered.
Eye fatigue, including Computer Vision Syndrome, is a real condition. Consider that more than 70% of the world uses smart phones with that tiny text. Get some relief by reviewing our blog from March here.
And finally, exercising and eating right makes perfect sense for your eyes too. Carrots REALLY do offer vision benefits.
See the Good Things With Your Own Eyes – On World Sight Day
Thursday October 13th is World Sight Day, but why wait for one day out of 365 to look out for your vision when you can do it everyday? Let’s get out and take an active role towards the care and prevention of eye diseases. Your eyes need to be at the top of your list when it comes to your health and how it affects your lifestyle that’s why this year’s theme is Universal Eye Health.
World Sight Day (WSD), an international day of awareness, focuses attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
Know Your Rand Eye-Q:
- 4 out of 5 blind people are needlessly impaired, that means 80% of blindness is avoidable.
- About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide. Preventable causes are as high as 80% of the total global visual impairment burden.
- 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries.
Don’t Become a Statistic. Keep Your Vision in Check
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you have a baseline eye exam at age 40 to help identify signs of eye disease at an early age. If you’re 65 or older, you should have your eyes checked every year or two for signs of the eye-related diseases.
Click Below to Schedule Your Eye Exam Today
Take the first step to clear vision at Rand Eye Institute.
Nothing says, “Welcome to Fall” like the glow of a bright orange pumpkin patch: Jack-o-lanterns lined up as far as the EYE can see! Pick out a nice, healthy and robust pumpkin for your Fall Halloween decorations then carve out some family fun by adding your own decorative design to his mug.
There’s lots to keep an EYE on this month, including the little ones, who’ll be trick-or-treating on Monday Oct. 31st. We’ll have our Halloween Safety Tips for you later this month. Please read them, print them out and share them with your neighbors, because VISION plays the biggest role in the safety of all of our children.
Savor Super Sight 365 Days a Year
We’ll be recognizing World Sight Day on October 13th, but at Rand Eye Institute, we remind you that it’s important to have good vision the other 364 days of the year too, so why not set aside time to have a complete vision screening?
If you have cataracts, consider that cataract surgery can help you to live longer. A recent study by The American Academy of Ophthalmology of 1.5 million patients over a 10-year period, found that nearly 30% had a reduced adjusted hazard of mortality, compared with those who did NOT have cataract surgery. That says, in a nutshell, that having cataract surgery can help you to live a longer, more fulfilling life.
Why is that? Cataract surgery improves the patient’s ability to care for themselves. Through better vision, they remain physically and socially active, interact more with friends and family and have an overall better visual experience. You don’t have to live with cataracts, especially when the FDA has approved laser cataract surgery as safe and effective, and it’s here NOW at The Rand Eye Institute. Click here to schedule your evaluation.
All this vision knowledge we share with you, will help you up your Rand EYE-Q, so that you can have a safe and happy fall season.
Ah, Fall is here! Soon the rain will let up, cooler weather will prevail, the sun will set earlier and holiday decorations will adorn homes and department stores alike. With great vision, you’ll be able to experience the colors and sparkle of the Holidays to come.
As we wrap up September’s Healthy Aging Month, here are some tips to help your vision FALL in line too:
First, find out where your vision stands by scheduling a comprehensive dilated eye exam. The dilated exam differs from the basic eye exam you may have had for glasses or contacts. With a dilated eye exam, the doctor is able to examine the inside of your eyes to detect the early stages of eye disease before vision loss occurs.
Your doctor will be looking for:
- Age-related macular degeneration, which affects the macula, where sharp, central vision is born.
- Cataracts, a clouding of the lens in the eye.
- And Diabetic Retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that damages blood vessels in the retina in the back of the eye.
Spotting these vision issues early is the best way to prevent vision loss. If you are 40-64 years old, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam every 2-4 years, if you are 65 or older, every 1-2 years. Anyone with symptoms of eye trouble should see an eye doctor right away.
Fall Into THESE Healthy Habits
Which of these two food choices is best for your vision?
The answer, of course, is “A”. Grapes, along with other foods that are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, such as kale, spinach, squash, corn and kiwi, contain potent antioxidants that can be beneficial to your eye health in helping prevent eye diseases like macular degeneration.
Foods loaded with vitamin C are also beneficial in helping ward off cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the world. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. The fluid inside the eyeball is normally high in a compound similar to vitamin C, which helps prevent oxidation that results in a clouded lens. Scientists believe more vitamin C in the diet may increase the amount present around the lens, providing extra protection.
Choose whole grains and cereals. They contain fiber, which slows down digestion and the absorption of sugars and starches, while sugars and refined white flours may increase your risk of age-related eye diseases.
Healthy Fat may sound like an oxymoron but it can help prevent dry eyes
Omega-3 essential fatty acids can help the function of the meibomian oil glands in the eyelids, which creates a layer of oil floating on the tear film, which reduces the evaporation rate. Omega-3’s are found in fish, flaxseed oil, walnuts and canola oil.
Stop smoking. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. It increases your risk for age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye diseases and conditions that can damage the optic nerve. Stopping isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it.
Wear a hat and sunglasses outdoors. Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 % of UV-A and UV-B radiation. This simple step, along with proper hydration, including water, vegetable and fruit juices are beneficial for your overall health and eye health.
The phrase “See you in September” has special meaning for us. Of course we’re happy to see you all year long, but September is designated as Healthy Aging Month, so here are some ways to keep your eyes healthy, so that we can see you every month of the year.
Move or Lose (Sight of) It
Probably THE most helpful tip to healthy aging is staying healthy. While we know that keeping your body moving is good for your physical wellbeing, it’s also good for your vision. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reveals that regular exercise helps keep our weight in the normal range, reducing the risk of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. This includes gentler exercise like walking, yoga, tai chi, stretching and breathing. So come on feet, start walkin’.
The Best Veggies for Best Vision
Eating your vegetables, especially carrots, is not just a fable; they really do contribute to healthy vision. The vitamins in carrots and other brightly colored vegetables help keep your eyes healthy and your vision strong with the antioxidants they provide. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two potent antioxidants that studies have shown can help prevent eye diseases like macular degeneration. So it turns out mom was right all along.
Stay Focused on Eye Health
As you age, be aware of the warning signs of age-related eye health problems that could cause vision loss. Since many eye diseases have no early symptoms, you may not notice the changes to your vision until the condition is quite advanced. While you may realize that although glucose is an important source of energy for the body’s cells, TOO MUCH glucose in the blood can cause damage to many parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, blood vessels and the small blood vessels in the eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology shows how this could lead to Diabetic Retinopathy. Regular eye exams offer early detection of disease and can significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye-health as you age.
Give a Little & Get More Back
It feels good to give and it’s good for you. Volunteering can take on many forms, such as teaching, nursing or childcare. Consider supporting a local symphony by ticket taking at the door, helping your church or synagogue at an event, singing in the choir, answering phones at a non-profit or mentoring someone. What does this have to do with healthy vision? Research shows that volunteering also contributes to good health. The results of more than 30 studies show that older people who volunteer enjoy longer lives, function at a higher level and have lower rates of depression and heart disease. So whatever cause gets YOUR blood pumping, it’s the cause to an effect: better overall health and that means healthier eyes too.
It’s Healthy Aging Month, and because your future is so bright-here are some Rand EYE-deas and tips to keep your mind healthy too.
Of course, exercise fires up endorphins, which stimulate your mind, but exercising your intellectual skills, works out the muscles in your brain to keep them firing on all cylinders too.
You Have Built-in Windows
Since your eyes are the windows to the world, expand your mind, pick up a crossword puzzle, do a brain-teaser or watch Jeopardy (we seem to know every answer when we watch at home, LOL). If you look online, you’ll “discover” websites that offer free puzzles, some you can create and print yourself. Consider making a puzzle using the memories of your life and then testing a family member or friend.
The Eyes Have It
Other eye-popping ways to keep a healthy mind might be to engage in a hobby that gives you the chance to use steady hand-eye coordination, like building a model or painting. Here’s another Eye-dea: Look for an inexpensive digital camera. Start shooting. You might become the next Iconic photographer. Remember, digital photographs are free of developing fees and are easy to share on social media.
You can always get one-up on your health by making a spiritual connection to your inner self. Take a yoga class or try meditation. You’ll see yourself in many new ways you’ve never imagined. Breathe, exhale and find your focal point.
Healthy Aging Month is all about expanding your sense of purpose and giving more meaning to your days ahead. Let our eyes and mind connect to a healthier you!
Next time, we’ll talk about some fun ways to stay healthy with friends and family.
Summer’s not over just yet, but back to school is just around the corner.
These are formative years for your child, personally and physically. If you have noticed a change in your child’s behavior it may be due to a change in his or her vision.
Below is a list of warning signs. If your child demonstrates any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult your eye care professional.
- Child holds reading material too close to face-fourteen to sixteen inches is recommended.
- Child sits too close to TV-eight to ten feet is recommended.
- Complains that writing on classroom blackboard is blurry or too small.
- Missing the ball very often in sports may indicate a problem with vision.
- Child rubs his or her eyes or complains of itching or burning. This could indicate a conjunctival or eyelid problem.
- Child complains of double vision.
- Child points to words while reading.
- Writing words or letters backwards could indicate a problem.
- Child complains of headaches.
- Child skips or misses words while reading.
- Child sees better out of one eye than the other.
- Child complains of pain in or around the eye.
- Poor hand-to-eye coordination.
- Photophobia (bright lights bother eyes).
- Dizziness or nausea.
- Poor concentration while reading.
- Abnormal head tilt while reading.
- Closes or covers one eye to read.
Four out of five children do not receive vision screenings. A screening rarely takes more than an hour and presents no discomfort, but the comfort in knowing that you’ve made your child’s vision a priority, is something YOU should get extra credit for. Call or click today for an appointment because the first school bell is about to ring!