Five Signs You Need an Eye Exam, Common Eye Diseases, Kids’ 20/20/20 Rule
Most of us have reached the age (or will soon) where our vision starts to change and reading glasses are necessary. It’s about this time that eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma become a concern and need to be checked.
Some signs that you need an eye exam include: headaches while you work, squinting more than usual, trauma around the eye, subtle changes to your sight, and momentary loss of vision.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) usually occurs after age 60 and damages the macula resulting in loss to the central field of vision. About 70% is due to heredity but a healthy diet may help offset the genetics. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that vitamins C and E, beta carotene (found in carrots), zinc and copper reduced the risk of AMD by about 25%.
(Did You Know? Beside a healthy diet, exercise, watching your weight, not smoking, wearing sunglasses and of course, getting an eye exam yearly all help in taking care of your eyes.)
The risk of glaucoma occurs after 60 and starts with loss of peripheral vision. Genetics are more involved than lifestyle. Treatment typically consists of prescription eye drops, laser therapies and surgical procedures.
Cataracts are the result of proteins in the lens of the eye becoming damaged resulting in haziness. By age 80 more than half of Americans will have a cataract with a genetic component in 35% of cases. Lens replacement surgery is the treatment.
For kids use the 20/20/20 rule. Take a 20 second break for every 20 minutes of screen time by looking 20 feet away.
-Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter, Better Homes and Garden, WSJ