Your eyes are a window to the world, from the moment they open in the morning to the moment they close at night. They deliver 80% of the information you consume daily — the people you care about, the career you pursue and the things you love to see and do! Naturally, it’s extremely important to keep them safe and healthy.

In 2003, the National Eye Institute (NEI) established May as Healthy Vision Month. During this annual observance, Eye Center, Inc. encourages Americans to make their eye health a priority and learn how to preserve their eye health and safety.

Most people are quick to say they don’t think they have an eye problem. Many eye diseases don’t show symptoms in the early stages, so without an eye exam there are no warning signs. It is projected that by 2030, 3.7 million will have age-related macular degeneration, 4.2 million will have glaucoma and 11.4 million people will have diabetic retinopathy.

This year, Eye Center, Inc. is highlighting the importance of prevention, especially among young adults ages 25–35 who may be at risk for vision issues in the future, based on their health and lifestyle trends now.

Get an eye exam: More than 23 million American adults have never had an eye exam. If your eyes feel healthy, it’s natural to assume they are healthy. But getting an eye exam is the only way to guarantee the status of your eye health. When it comes to vision, you may not realize your need for glasses or contacts. And with the lack of warning signs associated with most serious eye diseases, it’s very possible to have an eye problem and not know it. An eye exam is the best way to be confident in your eye health! Learn more about eye exams.

Know your family history: You might have your mother’s upturned eyes and your father’s blue eyes, but did you know eye health can be hereditary too? Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and older siblings about their eye health. It’s valuable to be aware if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease. This will help determine whether you are at a higher risk for developing an eye disease yourself!

Protect your eyes at work and play: About 2,000 people in the United States get a serious work-related eye injury every day. And how crazy is this: people with sports-related eye injuries end up in the ER every 13 minutes! The good news is you can protect your eyes from injury by wearing protective eyewear, like safety glasses, goggles, and safety shields. To make sure you have the right kind of protective eyewear and you’re using it correctly, talk with your eye doctor.

Give your eyes a rest: Do your eyes ever feel dry or exhausted at the end of the day? If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing intently on a specific project, you might go extended periods of time without blinking. This can tire your eyes. Try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your work and focus about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This reduces eyestrain and helps your eyes feel better at the end of the day.

Wear sunglasses (even on cloudy days): Your shades can protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays — and help keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp. When shopping for sunglasses, look for a pair that blocks out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation. Bonus: add a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection!

Eat eye-healthy foods: The old tale is true: carrots are good for your eyes! In fact, a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables — especially dark leafy greens, like spinach or kale — is crucial for eye health. Research also shows that fish high in omega-3 fatty acids — like salmon, tuna and halibut — can help protect your vision.

Stay at a healthy weight: Your likelihood to develop diabetes and other health problems that can lead to vision loss increases with obesity. If you struggle with your weight, talk to your doctor about how it could be impacting your vision.

Get plenty of physical activity: Regular physical activity benefits your entire body. It can boost your mood, reduce stress, help you stay at a healthy weight — and protect you from serious eye disease! Anything that gets your heart beating faster — like taking a quick walk or dancing — can contribute to maintaining your eye health.

Healthy Vision Month is a time to raise awareness about eye health and strategies to help prevent vision loss and blindness. There are many ways to get involved, but priority #1 is to get an eye exam — and encourage the people you care about to do the same! Call Eye Center, Inc. today to schedule your Comprehensive Eye Exam at any of our three convenient locations: 941-756-2020.