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February is Low Vision Awareness Month, which means it's time to think about whether your current habits are helping or hurting your vision. Some people wait until they have a probelm with their eyes before they call a doctor, but being proactive now about your eye health can help lower risk and prevent future vision problems. We spoke with Dr. Mary Boname of Montgomery Eye Care in Skillman, NJ to learn 10 ways to be proactive about your eye health.
1. Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor - Not only can he/she detect vision issues, but other health problems can be detected through a comprehensive vision screening.
2. Have regular physical exams to check for diabetes and hypertension - individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk for vision loss. Hypertension is known as “the silent killer” and is the 3rd leading cause of death in women.
3. Quit smoking - the habit has been linked to cataracts and macular degeneration. Smoking can also worsen dry eye symptoms.
4. Increase your water intake - water is important for proper blood flow and health cells. When you’re dehydrated, it also means your eyes aren’t properly lubricated. This can lead to dry eye, eye strain and other vision problems.
5. Keep all electronic devices out of your bedroom - The blue light emitted from tablets, phones and computers, suppresses the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Long term exposure to blue light can increase your risk of macular degeneration, and it also causes digital eye strain.
6. Know your family history - This will help the doctor determine your risk of developing certain eye diseases and a proper course of treatment. Family history of other diseases like diabetes and heart disease is also important to know since these also affect your eye health.
7. Eat well, including leafy green vegetables and foods rich in Lutein, Mesozeaxanthin, Zeaxanthin and Omega 3’s
8. Follow instructions - If you take medication, you follow a schedule according to the doctor’s instructions. The same is true for proper eye care. For example, always use sterile sailene solution when cleaning contact lenses or flushing out the eye.
9. Do the 20-20-20 exercise often, especially when using a computer - This is one of Dr. Boname’s go-to eye exercises, especially for those who use the computer on a regular basis. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It simply gives your eyes a rest.
10. Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays - Similar to the blue light effect, UVA and UVB rays can damage your eyes and lead to a higher risk of vision problems. The best type of sunglasses are with Polarized lenses, which block out UV rays and reduce glare from the sun.
If you are due for an eye exam or have questions about any of the items listed above, call Montgomery Eye Care at 609-279-0005.
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Scenes from Arts Council of Princeton's Dining By Design: Eye Candy
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