Count on Better Eye Health
Oct 09, 2014 08:14PM ● Published by Ryan Frisch
If you're like many Americans, when it comes to your regular healthcare regimen, your eyes get overlooked. In fact, you may only pay attention to your eye health when something goes wrong. Actually, preventive and routine eye care should be a top priority.
"Too many people fail to grasp the value of routine vision care, only seeking treatment for eye-related problems after they occur," said Stephen Shawler, president of Essilor Vision Foundation. "Although 80 percent of vision problems are preventable, we still have significant work to do to prevent vision problems before they start."
Impact of poor vision
Clear vision is a crucial tool in experiencing life to its fullest potential, but according to Essilor, an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide see poorly and don't possess adequate access to vision correction.
From an economic perspective, the Vision Impact Institute (VII) estimates as much as $745 million in productivity is lost every single day as a result of uncorrected vision problems in 33 percent of the world's working population.
Extensive social consequences are also a risk. According to the VII, some 30 percent of the world's children experience vision problems that have a significant impact on their long-term health, school performance and emotional/social development. Given that 80 percent of children's learning is through visual information processing, poor vision can hinder not only their academic performance, but also how they interact with peers and integrate into society.
Beyond the economic and social consequences, ignoring eye health can also have disastrous outcomes in other areas. For example, elderly individuals with poor vision are seven times more at risk for falls and hip fractures, and poor sight is linked to 59 percent of road accidents.
Eye health by the numbers
From a medical standpoint, eye exams do more than correct vision problems. They also can help detect conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, multiple sclerosis, strokes, hypertension and eye tumors.
To minimize the risks associated with poor eye sight and achieve better sight for better life, the experts at Essilor recommend knowing the numbers that add up to healthy eyes:
1: Adults should have a comprehensive eye exam every year. For kids, don't settle for the vision screenings at school; schedule a comprehensive annual eye exam with an eye doctor.
3: If you wear contact lenses, prevent the risk of bacteria and infection by replacing your lens storage case once every three months.
20: Staring at a computer monitor for too long can fatigue the eyes, leading to painful side effects like dry eyes and even headaches. Every 20 minutes, look away for about 20 seconds at a space 20 feet away from you. This simple trick can reduce eye strain and help you safely refocus.
25: Age-related macular degeneration is a serious eye condition that affects the elderly, causing visual impairment, damage to the retina and even blindness. Taking high levels of zinc in addition to antioxidant vitamins can reduce your risk by up to 25 percent.
90: When selecting sunglasses, find a pair that not only blocks out invisible ultraviolet light, but also blocks up to 90 percent of visible light, as well.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images