May is Healthy Vision Month

National Eye Institute offers common sense ideas to promote healthy eyes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) To celebrate Healthy Vision Month, The National Eye Institute has issued a statement encouraging all to value eye health and prioritize eye wellness. Good Eye-dea!

A survey done by the National Eye Institute showed the majority of participants consider eyesight to be important, but they take it for granted. Other surveys conducted by the National Eye Health Education Program and the Lions Club International Foundation, 25 percent of survey participants said their last eye examination was over two years ago, and 9 percent had never even had an eye exam.

Prioritize, protect, and examine your eyes.

In a statement released by the National Institute of Health,  Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Eye Institute reports, "Unfortunately, an estimated 14 million Americans are currently visually impaired due to eye diseases and disorders, and this number continues to grow as the population ages.

"Of adults aged 40 and older, more than 4 million currently have diabetic eye complications, more than 2 million have glaucoma, and more than 1.75 million have age-related macular degeneration. Millions of Americans have common, correctable vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism."

Sieving also reports an alarming 66 percent increase in nearsightedness alone in the past 30 years.

Sieving encourages all to detect vision problems early by taking a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This painless procedure allows an eye care professional to examine the eye through an enlarged pupil and gain a more complete look at any changes in eye health. Plan on sunglasses until your pupils lose the dilation.

Early treatment is the key to correcting treatable eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Vision-saving therapies  have been developed, but one must detect these conditions early to maximize their chances for treatment. 

New therapies include:

  • Laser therapy is effective in preserving sight in those with diabetic eye disease.
  • High levels of antioxidant vitamins plus zinc reduce the risk of the progression of and vision loss from age-related macular degeneration.
  • Eye drops used to treat high eye pressure reduced the development of glaucoma by more than 50 percent in people who are at a high risk for the condition.

Also, be sure and have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty fish to promote eye health. Dark, leafy greens are particularly good for your eyes.

Wear protective eyewear during sporting activities. This eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards. The plastic used in this type of eyewear is typically much stronger than regular sunglasses purchased at the drugstore.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 30, 2011
Last Updated:
May 31, 2011