Life is sweet at home

How to protect, preserve our precious eyesight

I opened two gifts this morning. They were my eyes.                                                              –                      –

The AOA says get regular, full dilated eye exams.

As the monochrome of winter blossoms into the full spectrum color of spring, let’s take a look at some of the leading, age-related causes of blindness and low vision. According to the CDC, they are macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.  In order to take charge of our vision health, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends everyone get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams.

The worst culprits

First of all, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among U.S. working-aged adults aged 20–74 years. An estimated 4.1 million and 899,000 Americans are affected by retinopathy and vision-threatening retinopathy, respectively.

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It most often occurs in people over age 40. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40 and Hispanics over the age of 60 have an increased risk. Other risk factors include thinner corneas, chronic eye inflammation and taking medications that increase the pressure in the eyes.Fortunately, if it is diagnosed and treated early, it can usually be controlled. Medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss.

Common vision problems and easy corrections

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in Americans age 20-74.

Many of the most common vision problems can be easily detected and corrected according to

Presbyopia – Can’t see close objects or small print clearly. Correct with reading glasses or contacts.

Floaters – Tiny spots or specks that drift across your field of vision. Mostly normal but if you see flashes of light, it could mean a detached retina. See your doctor.

Dry eyes – When tear glands can’t make enough tears you might feel burning or itching. Your doctor may suggest a humidifier or special eye drops.

Tearing or Watering  – When your eyes make too many tears in response to light, wind, or temperature changes. Wear sunglasses, see doctor about a blocked tear duct.

Cataracts – Block the lens and make it hard to see. If they cause problems, your doctor can surgically remove and replace your lens with an artificial version.

Tips for protecting our eyes

Diabetic retinopathy makes vision look blurred.

The experts at list a number of common sense steps we can take to monitor and maintain our wonderful gift – the sense of sight:

  1. Be aware of risk factors such as: age, family history, high blood pressure.
  2. Have regular physical exams to check for diabetes and high blood pressure.
  3. Pay attention to changes in your vision.
  4. Exercise such as walking can reduce the risk of age-related vision issues.
  5. Protect your eyes from harmful UV light. Wear sunglasses.
  6. Eat a healthy and balanced diet (fruits and colorful or dark green vegetables).
  7. Get a comprehensive, dilated eye exam at least every two years.
  8. Don’t smoke.

For more information about vision health: