Seeing the Benefit of Protecting Your Eyes

No one wants to lose their eyesight. But most of those same people take their eyesight for granted. They don’t get their eyes checked; they don’t wear protective eyewear when performing tasks such as weed whacking or playing sports; they don’t wear sunglasses; and on and on.

Our dysfunctional health care system even undervalues vision care. Whereas yearly physicals are covered as preventive care, there’s no such thing for regular eye exams. There are equally baffling omissions for dental care and hearing.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your eyes examined regularly, particularly if you’re over 50 or if you have diabetes. Eye exams are critical to safeguarding your eyesight, as many conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration don’t show any symptoms until they’ve already begun to damage your eyesight permanently.

At The Eye Clinic, the vision of our Portland friends is our obsession. Here are nine tips for protecting it.

  1. Know your family history of eye disease— Find out if you are at higher risk for issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Are you over 50 or an African American over 40? Any of those traits can make you at a higher risk for eye disease, making regular eye exams with Dr. Wilkins, Dr. Donohue, or Dr. Samples even more important.
  2. Have regular physical exams to check your blood pressure and possible diabetes— Both of these diseases lead to eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
  3. Watch for changes in your vision— Double vision, trouble seeing in low light, red eyes, frequent flashes of light, floaters, eye pain. All of these symptoms need immediate attention.
  4. Protect your eyes from the sun— Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays. Why? UV rays cause cataracts and other eye problems.
  5. Eat better— Studies are showing that eating antioxidants such as blueberries and broccoli can reduce the risk of developing cataracts. We’ve discussed in other blogs the value of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Their fish oils may reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and help alleviate dry eye.
  6. Exercise more— Regular exercise can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 70 percent.
  7. Don’t smoke— Smokers are more prone to developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, uveitis, and other eye problems.
  8. Wear protective eyewear— When playing sports, working with tools, doing yard work and the like, wear protective eyewear. This pretty much speaks for itself.
  9. Get your eyes checked at least every two years— Many eye conditions don’t present symptoms until they are already beginning to damage your vision. But a comprehensive eye exam, including dilating your pupils, can determine your risk of diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.

Is it time for your next eye exam? Call us at The Eye Clinic, (503) 297-4718, to schedule your appointment.

Posted in: Eye Care

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