How You can Protect One of Life’s Greatest Blessings—the Gift of Sight
During the Holidays, people of various cultures and backgrounds celebrate in vastly different ways. But there does seem to be a common theme: Tis the season for giving.
It’s also a great time to offer thanks for all the many blessings of life. One in particular, so easily taken for granted until it’s lost, is the gift of sight. Its loss can greatly diminish our experiences and perspective of the world and of those we know and love.
“Eyesight is one of the most important senses to which we have been blessed,” says Dr. Aubrey Fulton, OD, a therapeutic certified optometrist with Hattiesburg Eye Clinic. “To protect and enhance the vision of our patients, my colleagues and I strive to provide the most complete ocular care available.”
This month Dr. Fulton and Hattiesburg Eye Clinic are recognizing December as Gift of Sight Month. They encourage you to reflect on this most precious gift during the holiday season. Dr. Fulton also offers sound advice on how to care for it throughout your lifetime.
Eye exams. First and foremost, Dr. Fulton recommends regular eye exams, particularly as you get older.
“Annual comprehensive eye exams, particularly after age 40, are the foundation on which we can build the best vision care for a patient,” says Dr. Fulton.
He also advises parents to have their children’s eyes examined a few times before they enter school. Doing so is the best way to catch any developing vision problems or eye diseases that might affect them the rest of their lives.
Eye protection. The eyes face potential damage during work or recreational activities, or from the environment. Dr. Fulton recommends wearing eye protection any time you face the possibility of flying debris, chemical splash, or rough contact during sports.
You should also protect your eyes from long-term exposure to sunlight. “Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your eyes, accelerating the development of cataracts or even causing cancer. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a hat anytime you’re out in the sun.”
Eye strain. Work and other environments with a lot of close reading or electronic screen viewing can contribute to eye strain. Not only is this condition uncomfortable, it could also negatively affect your overall eye health.
To reduce strain or similar irritations, Dr. Fulton has a number of suggestions. “Using artificial tear supplementation on a regular basis is a great way to relieve chronic strain. If you wear glasses and spend a lot of time looking at computer screens, you can have an anti-reflective coating applied to your lenses to reduce glare.”
Dr. Fulton also says many people find blue light-blocking lenses helpful in reducing strain and sleep pattern disruptions caused by viewing computer or smartphone displays.
Healthy lifestyle choices. A nutritious diet and regular exercise can benefit your eyes, as well as your overall health.
“Foods rich in antioxidants and certain other nutrients are great for eye health,” says Dr. Fulton. “But because we don’t always get what we need from our diets, I also recommend a good supplemental vitamin routine, especially supplements that contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are specifically beneficial for eye health.”
On a final note, Dr. Fulton also suggests that you shop carefully for your children this holiday season. Toys or other gifts with sharp points and edges, or which shoot projectiles, can increase the risk of eye damage. Even foam projectiles can cause injury if aimed directly at the eyes, so adult supervision is a must.
The Holidays will soon be over, heralding the time when we make those new year resolutions to improve our lives. Be sure one of them is to take proactive steps to protect your and your family’s precious gift of sight.
To learn more about protecting and enhancing your eyesight, be sure to visit our website. To find out how Hattiesburg Eye Clinic can improve your vision health, call 601-268-5910 (or toll-free 800-624-8254) or schedule a consultation with us at www.hattiesburgeyeclinic.com/contact-us/