March is National Save Your Vision Month. The American Optometric Association (AOA) offers five tips for a lifetime of healthy vision.
Every waking minute, our eyes are working hard to see the world around us. It’s easy to incorporate steps into your daily routine to protect your vision!
1. Schedule yearly comprehensive eye exams. Seeing a doctor of optometry or ophthalmology regularly will help keep you on the path to healthy eyes. The Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic’s optometry service offers eye exams to active duty and family members. Appointments are also available to retirees and civilians on a space available basis.
2. Protect your eyes from UV rays. No matter what season of the year, it’s important to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses protect our eyes from harmful UVA and UVB light. These ultraviolet rays can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts and skin cancer around the eyes. However, not all sunglasses provide UV protection. Make sure you get sunglasses that indicate they block all or most of UVA and UVB light.
3. Give your eyes a break from digital device use. Most of us spend a lot of time looking at electronic screens at work and home. Consequently, many people experience dry, sore and tired eyes, headaches and blurry vision which is now termed Computer Vision Syndrome. Thankfully, there is a simple step that will combat CVS known as the 20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something at least 20 feet away. Artificial tear drops may also be helpful.
4. Eat your greens. We are constantly reminded that good nutrition is important for our health and this is true for vision. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Green leafy vegetables are particularly good for the eyes. Some examples include spinach, Swiss chard and kale.
5. Use eye protection and use contact lenses appropriately. There are approximately 2,000 eye injuries every day in the US according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. For example, metal or dust particles and rebounding nails are the most common causes of vision loss in construction workers. Use appropriate eye protection when around power tools, shooting weapons and riding motorcycles.
Contact lenses are a fantastic vision option, but have potential for serious infection when abused. Do not sleep or swim while wearing contacts. For Active Duty Service members, regulations strictly prohibit contact lens use while deployed or in field environments.
We look forward to serving you at the Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic’s Optometry Service!