Health Topics

Ocular Health, Maintaining Good Vision and Eyesight

It is important to maintain good ocular health. Having good ocular health means that vision is at least 20/20 or better with or without correction and that the eyes are disease-free. There are simple corrective and preventive measures to maintain good vision and enjoy lifelong ocular health. Here are some tips to keeping your eyes healthy and preventing problems:

Visit Your Doctor for Regular Check-Ups

You should visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist for an eye exam once every year. See your ophthalmologist if you experience eye infections or symptoms of disease such as loss of or blurred vision, light flashes, eye pain, redness, itching, swelling and irritation around the eye or eyelid.

Practice Disease Prevention

Disease of the eye is the number one cause of blindness. Most diseases that cause blindness, like glaucoma and diabetes, can be treated or their progression slowed down with the proper diagnosis and management. By getting regular exams and discussing your family history, you and your doctor will be able to anticipate, better prevent and treat eye disease.

Wear the Correct Prescription Lenses or Consider Corrective Surgery

Not wearing your prescribed eyeglasses or contacts will not cause disease of the eye, but it can cause discomfort by eyestrain, headache, or possibly even injury brought on by the lack of safe vision. If wearing prescriptive lenses is uncomfortable, ask your doctor about alternatives, like switching from eyeglasses to contact lenses or exploring corrective surgery.

Protect Your Eyes From the Sun’s Harmful Rays

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of light and is a portion of the invisible part of the spectrum. Sources of this damaging light include sunlight, a welder’s flash, video display terminals, fluorescent lighting, high intensity mercury vapor lamps (used for night sports and high-crime areas) and xenon arc lamps (used in laboratories).

Constant exposure to ultraviolet rays can result in photochemical eye damage. This UV exposure increases pigmentation in the eye, causing a discoloration known as "brown" or "sunshine" cataracts. Eye diseases such as macular degeneration, solar retinitis and corneal dystrophies have all been linked to UV exposure.

Your eyes may be more photosensitive if they are light in color, if you are taking specific medications or if you use artificial sweeteners. You can protect your eyes while out in the sun or indoors by wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses treated for UV absorption and by using protective work shields and screen covers that have an ultraviolet-absorbing coating.

Wear Protective Gear During Work and Sporting Events

Wearing safety glasses and protective goggles while playing sports or working with hazardous and airborne materials lowers your risk for eye injury, damage to vision and complete loss of sight.

Being actively involved in your eye health and working with your optometrist and ophthalmologist increases your chances for maintaining good eye health and eyesight.