How to Prevent Blindness

Preventive care can help you keep your eyes healthy and prevent common causes of blindness.

If you’ve never had a vision problem, you probably don’t provide much idea to your eyes. And you may not be aware of the modifications that take place as you age, some of which can considerably affect the way you see– and even lead to blindness.

The bright side is that even small preventive measures, like using sunglasses and consuming greens, can assist secure your vision and stave off vision problems later on in life.

What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Blindness?

So, how to keep your eyesight from getting worse? Here is a list of 10 eye facts that will assist you protect your eyes and your vision for years to come.

1. What you eat matters for your eye health. Eating well is the No. 1 way to take care of your eyes, states Rebecca Taylor, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Nashville Vision Associates in Tennessee, and representative for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. She also recommends that you aim to get your nutrients from food: “Eat vitamins rather of taking them.”

What should your eye-healthy plate appear like? Practically like any good, healthier meal. Dr. Taylor begins with a huge spinach or kale salad topped with brightly-colored veggies. Green leafy vegetables offer the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, revealed to assist reduce risk for eye illness, notes the AAO. And vitamin A found in intense yellow and orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes enhances eye health, according to the National Institutes of Health. Including fruits like strawberries, oranges, and mangoes supplies vitamin C and other anti-oxidants, which Taylor states also help fight eye disease. She also includes salmon or other cold-water fish in her ideal meal, because omega Threes are good for tear production, which alleviates dry eyes.

Blindness prevention

2. Comprehensive eye exams pick up vision problems early. Getting a regular eye test is the only method to catch a variety of issues, such as glaucoma or diabetic eye disease, guaranteeing you’ll get timely treatment. Many people with vision problems must see their eye doctor when a year to make sure their sight hasn’t altered.

For the rest people, the AAO recomends the following eye exam schedule:

  • At 40: a standard eye exam
  • From 40 to 55: an eye test every 2 to 4 years
  • Ages 55 to 64: an eye test every 1 to 3 years
  • At 65 and up: an eye examination every year

During the exam, your doctor will take your family history and check your pupils, main vision, color vision, and eye pressure. She or he will likewise dilate, or expand, your student using unique eye drops to see the back of your eye and check for any damage.

3. Smoking now can cause eye issues later on. “Get off tobacco in any type,” Taylor states. When you smoke, cyanide from the smoke gets into your bloodstream and can ruin the eye’s cells. Cigarette smoking puts you at greater risk of developing cataracts and increases issues with dry eyes. It also raises your risk of macular degeneration, an incurable condition that ruins vision in the center of the eye, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

4. You can help preserve your vision by protecting your eyes from the sun. Taylor recommends two safeguards for your eyes: sunscreen and sunglasses. The skin around your eyes is some of the thinnest on the body and is vulnerable to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Various sort of skin cancer, like carcinoma and cancer malignancy, can form in the eyelids and around the eyes, triggering significant damage to the eye structure.

Sunglasses are likewise a must, inning accordance with Taylor. But do not be fooled into believing the darker, the better. “It’s the sticker you peel off of the glasses when you purchase them” that matters, she states. Sunglasses must have complete, 100 percent defense from UVA and UVB (long and short wave) rays. Ultraviolet radiation stimulates the issues that cause both cataracts and macular degeneration– typical causes of blindness.

5. Dealing with a computer all the time can give you dry eyes. This remains in part since when we do things up close, we don’t blink as much, Taylor says. Paradoxically, among the most typical symptoms of dry eyes is an eye that waters, says Steven Loomis, OD, of Roxborough Park, Colorado, president of the American Optometric Association. The breakdown of the oily and mucous layers of the eyes keeps tears from vaporizing, and the eye compensates by producing more water, he says. Having “exhausted eyes” at the end of the day is another symptom.

Dry eyes can likewise be caused by:

  • Swelling
  • Specific medications, including antidepressants
  • Hormone modifications due to aging

For treatment, attempt the 20-20-20 guideline: Every 20 minutes, look away for 20 seconds at something that is at least 20 feet away. A warm compress is another easy treatment, Dr. Loomis says, as are synthetic tears– however not the ones that “get the red out,” because they can restrict blood to the tear glands. If these treatments aren’t efficient, your doctor may recommend an item like Restasis (cyclosporine) to minimize inflammation.

6. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in America. The best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy– the most common reason for blindness in the United States– is to avoid diabetes, if possible. Almost all patients with type 1 diabetes develop this eye condition, as do about 60 percent of those with type 2 diabetes.

In diabetic retinopathy, the tiny capillary of the retina are harmed. While no symptoms appear during the early stages of the condition, it is seriously essential to catch retinopathy as soon as possible through regular eye examinations. In time, your vision can blur and lead to blindness. Controlling blood sugar, high blood pressure, and cholesterol can prevent the disease from worsening, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Diabetic retinopathy might be treated by laser surgery, which can decrease the risk of further blindness. However, treatment can not repair vision that is already lost.

7. After age 60, macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness. Macular degeneration occurs when eye tissue degenerates, causing blurriness or loss of vision in the main part of the eye. There are two kinds of macular degeneration: wet and dry. If vision loss is triggered by fluid in the retina, the condition can be dealt with by injections in the eye. However a lot of forms are dry, for which there is no treatment.

Risk factors for macular degeneration include a family history of the condition, smoking cigarettes (which harms the eye’s blood vessels), a lack of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet, and not safeguarding your eyes with sunglasses.

8. Cataracts prevail, however treatment is extremely effective. Cataracts are a fairly normal part of the aging procedure and generally start to appear around the age of 60. Symptoms can include blurred vision, faded colors, glare, reduced night vision, and double vision. Cataracts are related to direct exposure to UV rays or radiation therapy, such as cancer treatment. Taking specific medications like prednisone can also increase the risk of cataracts, Loomis says. But cataract treatment, that includes changing the damaged eye lenses with good ones, is typically extremely effective, he includes.

9. Damage to the eye’s optic nerve causes glaucoma. This typical eye condition, Loomis states, is understood for being quiet and insidious. He often tells patients that the first sign of glaucoma is when an individual can no longer see. Glaucoma is not something a patient can avoid or treat on his own, and the only way to spot it is through an eye exam, according to the NIH.

Glaucoma occurs when pressure develops in the eye and starts to damage the optic nerve. The condition advances very gradually, Loomis says, and it can take years for the nerve damage to become severe enough to cause vision issues.

The risk of getting glaucoma is higher for people who have a household history or are diabetic, Loomis states. For most of patients, treatment consists of a once-daily eye drop that minimizes pressure in the eye. If drops fail, surgery may be a choice.

10. Your eyes expose a lot about your health. The old stating goes that the eyes are the windows to the soul, however Taylor states they can also function as an indicator of an individual’s total health. If a patient enters her office with dry eyes, she asks other health questions, because having dry eyes can be a marker of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or thyroid disease. Patients who have blurred vision could have diabetes or a tumor, or might have had a stroke. People with itchy red eyes may have a contact lens allergy that they’re unaware of. Taylor also just recently identified numerous sclerosis in a patient who had uncommon eye motions.

Updated: June 10, 2017 — 3:07 pm

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