Those who started wearing glasses when very young understand the importance of clear vision. When you can’t see, it’s not fun to play in the swimming pool (where are your friends?) or play hide and go seek, or sit in the back of the classroom when you can’t see the white board. Many people feel vision is the most important of the five senses. Are you taking care of yours?
WHEN SHOULD CHILDREN BEGIN EYE EXAMS?
More than 285 million people around the world have vision loss or blindness. If you wait for school to start to begin eye exams for your children, you may have missed some important years if your child has vision problems. He or she may already be behind the rest of the class, when an eye exam could have spotted and corrected the problem.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GET YOUR KIDS
IN FOR THEIR FIRST EYE EXAM?
START WHEN THEY’RE BABIES.
- Birth to one year. Your doctor can check for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, amblyopia, eye movement ability, proper eye alignment, how the eye reacts to changes in light and darkness and other general eye problems.
- Ages 3-5. This is the beginning of eye chart tests. Children can’t typically read yet, but they can tell you which way the letter “E” is pointing.
- Ages 5 and up. Annual checks for everyone in the family. Some eye issues can be corrected when caught early. Amblyopia (“lazy eye”) can be reversed and is a common eye problem in children.
HOW SHOULD WE CARE FOR EYES?
Most eye care is simple common sense. The hard part may be remembering to schedule the annual eye exam. Some people do it around their birthdate. Some do it in late summer before school starts. Many rely upon their eye doctor to remind them. Whatever works for you, will work for your eyes.
FOLLOW THESE TIPS FOR EYE HEALTH
- Always wear sunglasses.
- Clean your contact lenses (more below).
- Don’t ignore eye issues such as redness, discharge, scratchiness or blurry vision.
- Eat food rich in zinc such as beans, peas, peanuts, oysters, lean red meat and poultry. This can help eyes resist light damage. Carrots (rich in vitamin A) are also good.
- Get annual eye check-ups, even if you don’t currently wear glasses.
- Read drug labels because some have visual side effects.
- Share your health history with your eye doctor. A compromised immune system, high blood pressure and diabetes all impact eye health.
- Stop smoking. Yet another reason!
- Take a computer break for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to prevent eye strain.
- Toss the old make-up.
- Wear safety glasses to prevent injuries.
KEEPING CONTACT LENSES CLEAN
There is hope for those in the aging population who are experiencing macular generation, cataracts and other potentially blinding issues. Researchers tell us that a bionic eye is not out of the question. Whoa! Didn’t see that coming!
- Wash your hands with a mild non-cosmetic soap.
- Dry your hands with a clean, lint-free towel.
- Only use the disinfecting solution, eye drops and enzymatic cleaner your eye doctor recommends.
- Clean your contacts by gently rubbing them in the palm of your other hand.
- Clean your contact lens case after every use and let it air dry.
- Put in contacts first, and then apply make-up.
- Never use tap water directly on your lenses or put them in your mouth.