Take Care of Your Eyes   



Take Care of Your Eyes

 
Expert tips to protect your eyes

Many eye injuries are the result of seemingly mundane things people have contact with every day-things like sunlight, sand and other particles, and chemicals such as cleaning solvents-and their activities.

These days, people spend more time outdoors and enjoy a more active lifestyle than past generations. The American Association of Ophthalmology believes it's important to recognize that sunlight is a substantial source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that may damage eye tissue.

UV damage to the eye's lens may cause cataracts and, to the retina, eclipse blindness and macular degeneration. Risk is highest in environments where a large quantity of UV radiation is reflected, such as in water. Heat lamps and welding arcs are also sources of this type of eye damage.

The good news about UV exposure is that it's reasonably easy to protect your eyes from it. Simply wearing a hat will reduce your UV exposure by half. And a proper pair of sunglasses can eliminate virtually all of the UV as long as the glasses protect against 100 percent of UV light.

A darker pair of sunglasses isn't necessarily better. The degree of darkness of the sunglasses does not indicate how much UV light they absorb. The best sunglasses block 99 percent of UV light and wrap around the sides.

PREVENT INJURIES

Eye injuries are the most common preventable cause of blindness. A few of the most common causes of these injuries and how to minimize risks are discussed below.


1. Fireworks. Make sure an adult supervises any firework used by children. Avoid any fireworks that fly, such as bottle rocks and roman candles.

2. On the job. If your job puts you in the path of flying particles (for example, grinding machines) or near dangerous substances (for example, in a chemical factory), you are at greater risk for an eye injury or blindness. Remember to wear appropriate protective eye gear always.

3. Home improvement devices. If you use a grinder or woodworking machines that can spit out debris or particles, always wear eye protection.

4. Particles and other foreign bodies. Don't touch, press or rub the eye to remove a particle-doing so may cause scratching and damage the eye more seriously. Instead, flush the eye with water for up to 15 minutes and see your doctor.

5. Household chemicals. In most cases of exposure, the affected eye should be flushed for 15 to 30 minutes and medical help should be sought immediately. Your local poison control center can also give you instructions. Be prepared to give the exact name of the chemical, if possible.

6. Black eyes. Applying cold compresses intermittently at about 10minute intervals for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury can sometimes help reduce discoloration. Call your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as Increased redness, eye drainage, persistent pain and distorted vision.

SPORT INJURIES

In the U.S., baseball and basketball are the top two sports that cause the most eye injuries. Fortunately, protective eye gear is now required by many sports organizations.

Worldwide, racquet sports are the number-one cause of serious sports-related eye injuries.

To protect your eyes when playing sports, make sure to wear proper eye protection.

Protective goggles or unbreakable glasses can be very effective in preventing many types of eye injury.

PRACTICAL STEPS

Eye health and vision problems can have a major impact on a person's life, affecting work, driving, recreation and, sometimes, daily living tasks.

People can take steps to keep their vision working at peak performance, minimize the impact of eye diseases and, in some cases, perhaps prevent eye health problems.

Here are some suggestions from the American Optometric Association:

Eat healthy

A low-fat diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables may help prevent or slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.

Wear sunglasses

Starting in childhood, wearing sunglasses outdoors that block 99 to 100 percent of UV rays (UVA and UVB) may help guard against cataracts and macular degeneration in later years.

How to choose sunglass



Practice eye safety habits


Wear the proper eye safety equipment on the job, when doing eye-hazardous activities at home and when participating in eye-hazardous sports.

Get professional care

Eye health and vision problems usually occur without early symptoms, taking an eye exam every year or two until age 60 and annually thereafter is a must.

Be alert for symptoms

If you have dry eye symptoms such as burning or gritty eyes, try lubricating your eyes with artificial tears. However, symptoms indicating a need for prompt consultation with your eye doctor include blurred or distorted vision, frequent headaches after using your eyes, pain of any kind in the eye, squinting, eye irritation and eye fatigue.

“Protective goggles or unbreakable glasses can be very effective in preventing many types of eye injury.”

Relax your eyes

Take a 5- to 10-minute break every hour from your computer, other close work, video games or television viewing to relax your eyes by gazing in the distance.

Know how medications may affect vision

Ask your physician, pharmacist or eye doctor about how your prescription and nonprescription drugs may affect your vision. Keep all your doctors informed about the drugs you take and any side effects you notice.

Follow contact lens instructions

If you wear contact lenses, follow your eye doctor's wearing and care instructions and return for follow-up visits as recommended. Faillure to do so can contribute to eye health problems.
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Happy reading,
Evelyn


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