Since vision is so important to our older Americans in protecting them from falls and injury, we would like to help bring awareness to National Eye Exam Month.
In 1989, Sears Optical founded National Eye Exam Month to bring awareness about eye health and annual exams. Every August we recognize this crucial event in hopes of motivating seniors to get their eyes examined by an eye professional.
Research shows that 80-85% of our perception, learning, cognition, and activities are mediated through vision, according to Dr. Thomas Politzer, O.D., Former President of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, therefore everyone must protect their eyes and schedule eye exams.
With the aging population growing exponentially, the number of those visually impaired is expected to double by 2030. The Centers for Disease Control report one in four Americans 65 and older will experience a fall, the leading cause of injury among older adults. The experts indicate visual impairments double the risk of falling. Falls result in serious injury, decreased mobility, and a loss of independence, so why would anyone want to neglect their eyesight?
Many older adults like to maintain their driving skills, and good eyesight is imperative for safe driving.
Most eye professionals think it is wise to visit an eye doctor regularly. Cleveland Clinic Ophthalmologist Michael Millstein, MD says it is important to visit with your optometrist or ophthalmologist for an eye exam annually. Unless you experience infections or the following issues, you may want to see them earlier:
- Loss of or blurred vision
- Eye Pain
- Light flashes
- Redness, itching, or swelling
- Irritation around the eye
The eye doctors at Medical Eye Associates report the eyes are the windows for the rest of your body and regular visits to the eye doctor are preventative maintenance for the rest of the body. Exams can spot:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Liver disease
- Brain tumors
- Macular degeneration
- Various blood diseases
Dr. William Brown, a Mayo Clinic optometrist keeps it simple for long term eye health. Dr. Brown thinks it is very important not to smoke, maintain a well-balanced healthy diet and wear sunglasses outside.
Keeping a healthy balanced diet is good for long-term quality of life, but it is also key to maintaining good eye health. The Mayo Clinic eye and nutrition experts recommend a healthy balanced diet of:
- Vegetables: Kale, collard greens, peppers, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, peas, pumpkin, carrots, and Swiss chard
- Fruits: Peaches, blueberries, oranges, tangerines, mango, tomato, apricot, papaya, cantaloupe, honeydew, avocado, and grapefruit
- Sources of zinc: King crab, lamb, bulgur, lean beef, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, lean pork, dark meat of poultry, whole-wheat or buckwheat flours, pumpkin seeds
- Omega-3-rich foods: Salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel, rainbow trout, sardines, flaxseed, English walnuts, canola oil, roasted soybeans