CLEAR VISION FOR A LIFETIME
When Dr. Garrett completed our state-of-the-art medical and surgical eye care facility a few years ago, he decided to add a mission statement to our name: Clear Vision for a Lifetime. This expresses our desire to partner with our patients in designing a plan for their vision care and eye health for their entire life. Many eye care practices focus on episodic care in which they cater to a single procedure or patient type. At Virginia Beach Eye Center, we prefer to build a long-term relationship with our patients, which allows us to choose the appropriate procedure or vision care solution for you now, while keeping your options open for your visual needs into the future.
Nearly half of us are born with imperfect visual systems which are termed “refractive errors.” These are nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. These vision problems become noticeable at different ages and depending on the amount, can cause poor vision at distance, near, or both. These imperfections can be corrected by glasses, contact lens or refractive surgery.
First and foremost, schedule a regular eye exam! This is important at any age, but becomes increasingly imperative as we grow older. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends adults get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 (or sooner if there is a family history of eye disease or you have a systemic disease with eye side effects) and have a comprehensive exam every two years thereafter.
If you are over 65, or with family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, you absolutely should have an eye exam every year. Eye disease may be “silent” in its early stages – you may not have any symptoms – but permanent damage to your vision may be taking place without you realizing it. Your eye doctor, however, will screen for early stage eye disease and can institute vision saving procedures.
Lifestyle changes that can increase overall eye health
A healthy diet with eye-protecting nutrients may possibly help stave off some eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataract and even dry eye syndrome, so eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables, two servings of fish per week, some nuts and some yellow or orange fruits and vegetables. Flaxseed oil and fish oil contain important, eye-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Some “bad” carbohydrates (refined white flour and sweets) cause blood sugar to spike, which in turn causes inflammation in the body that can negatively affect your eyes. Diets high in processed baked goods and sweets may actually increase your risk of macular degeneration. A study of age-related eye disease by the National Eye Institute shows that the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration may be reduced by 25 percent with use of AREDS formulation of antioxidants and zinc.
In addition to eating healthy, you should follow an active lifestyle. Get plenty of exercise, but when outdoors be sure to wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes from ultra violet (UV) radiation. Choose sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, which can damage the surface of the eye and the cornea.
Protect your eyes when playing sports; more than 40,000 eye injuries each year are sports-related according to Prevent Blindness America. Any sport in which balls, racquets or flying objects are present poses a high potential for eye injury. So do pokes and jabs by fingers and elbows. Basketball has a very high rate of eye injury, as does swimming. Handball, racquet sports, and paintball players are at extreme risk of devastating eye injury.
Today, sports eyewear can be spotted on almost anyone who picks up a ball, bat, racquet or stick – whether they play in the major leagues or the Little League. Coaches, parents and players now realize that wearing protective eyewear for sports pays off in several ways. The risk of eye damage is reduced, and the player’s performance is enhanced by their ability to see better and confidence that they will not be injured, allowing them to concentrate on the game.
When choosing protective eyewear, look for polycarbonate sports-specific lenses treated with a scratch-resistant coating on the front and back surfaces. Sports frames can accommodate prescription and non-prescription lenses, so you will see well while still protecting your eyes.
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is fast becoming the number one occupational hazard of the 21st century. Uncorrected CVS is not only uncomfortable, but studies show it can also affect worker productivity and accuracy. If you spend hours at the computer, you may have CVS. The symptoms include sore, tired, burning or itching eyes, watery eyes, dry eyes, headache, blurry or double vision, increased light sensitivity, sore neck and backache. You might also have trouble shifting your focus between the computer monitor and paper documents, or see color “fringes” or after images when you look away from the monitor.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that computer users have an eye exam at least once a year. The experienced optometrist and opticians at Virginia Beach Eye Center may fit you for customized computer glasses specifically to reduce computer-induced eyestrain. They will make a world of difference in your computer eye comfort level.
Contact lens wearers must be diligent in the use and care of their lenses. Here are a few tips from our optical team for the use and care of your contacts:
- Don’t top-off or reuse lens cleaning solution
- Use a contact lens solution to clean and rinse the case and then air dry the case after each use
- Don’t expose contact lenses or lens storage cases to any type of water other than sterile solutions
- Always wash hands prior to handling contact lens