Do you have vision issues? If you do, how would you know? Think about your vision. It’s hard for anyone to recognize miniscule declines in vision quality on a day-to-day basis. If you notice something is wrong with your eyesight, the condition or issues are likely already past the early detection phase.
A study performed by the University of Waterloo Optometry Clinic discovered an astonishing 58% of patients who were experiencing no noticeable vision issues had undiagnosed disorders or changes in their vision quality since their last visit. Approximately 41% of patients in the study had significant enough changes in their vision to necessitate a change in their contact or eyeglasses prescription.
What should be even more of an eye opener is approximately 14% of patients in the study actually had a “critical diagnosis” such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration or other serious issues that benefit from early detection and require proactive treatment.
Having less-than-stellar eyesight isn’t just a benign annoyance. Patients with an outdated prescription may experience headaches, dizziness and other eyestrain related issues. Inadequate clarity of sight could also make operating a motor vehicle or machinery dangerous for you and the people around you.
If you’ve ever had a change in prescription or received glasses for the first time after living with blurry eyesight, the experience is likely something you remember. Being able to see the world and all its vibrant colors with maximum clarity can have a surprising impact on your quality of life. You see more detail in the world around you, TV and movies look better, you can read without getting a headache and, of course, you can rest assured your eyesight won’t be contributing to any accidents.
Self-monitoring eyesight can be tricky. When a new mole pops up it’s usually pretty easy for the average person to notice it and have it checked, but how can you stay on top of your eye health when the changes can be so imperceptibly minute?
The answer is actually relatively simple. Visit your optometrist! If it has been a while since you’ve had your eyes checked, consider scheduling a visit to a local optometrist. Most medical professionals recommend undergoing an eye exam at least once a year, and potentially more often if you have recurring issues with your vision.
Some Things You Can Start Doing to Protect Your Vision
- Smoking cigarettes is harmful for just about every part of your body, including your vision. Your eyes, much like most of the rest of your body, has blood vessels. These blood vessels have a tendency to constrict in smokers, leading to an increased risk for macular degeneration.
- People don’t usually think of melanoma as a condition that could potentially affect the eyes. However, excessive UV exposure can also increase your risk for glaucoma. Wearing sunglasses when you’re in direct sunlight is always a good idea.
- Eye drops remove redness by reducing blood flow to the eye. Messing too much with your eyes’ natural processes by using eye drops frequently could eventually result in “rebound redness” and potentially cornea damage.
- Antioxidants from spinach, kale and other leafy greens have been found to promote good eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help prevent dry eyes.
- If you use contacts, always make sure to wash your hands prior to touching them or your eyes.
- Most importantly, schedule annual vision checkups with a trusted, local optometrist!
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If you have questions about your health or wish to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician for a routine checkup, please contact us at (713) 778-1300.