Did you know that the ‘apple of my eye’ is about the pupil, a critical component of the eye? Apples were considered highly prized fruits in ancient times which was how this expression came about; and the expression typically refers to a person, like a son or daughter, that is cherished.
But eye health is more than the ‘apple’ – which we’ll highlight in this blog.
Were you aware that many eye diseases can appear without any warning or signs of symptoms?
While there are many risk factors that will increase your likelihood of being diagnosed with an eye disease, they can occur even when your eyes feel healthy. The best thing to do to ensure you are keeping your eyes healthy is to see your optometrist for a dilated eye exam. This exam is simple and painless, and will prevent the possibility of eye diseases – such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy – from progressing without proper treatment.
In addition to the recommended dilated eye exam, here are some lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of eye diseases:
- Smoking can harm your optic nerve (along with your lungs) and can increase the risk of contracting macular degeneration and cataracts. Stop smoking to save your sight!
- Maintaining a healthy weight and participating in physical activity is a great way to help your eyesight. Poor physical activity and an unhealthy weight can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which can cause problems with vision and eye health.
- Eating vitamin-rich foods, such as dark, leafy greens, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and nuts, can improve your vision and lower your risk of eye diseases.
- Ensuring other medical conditions are maintained and proper treatment patterns are being followed can reduce the risk of developing eye diseases, as well.
While dilated eye exams are effective in maintaining eye health, eye diseases can occur, and it is important to be knowledgeable on the symptoms and risk factors of eye diseases. Here we will summarize the central components of a few common eye diseases:
- There are two types of Macular Degeneration: Wet and Dry.
- Dry macular degeneration is more common and less severe than wet macular degeneration, which will always progress from dry macular degeneration.
- Macular degeneration results from abnormal blood vessels leaking blood or fluid into the macula (a part of the retina).
- Macular degeneration will cause blurred vision or a blind spot in the visual field.
- Routine eye exams can identify early signs of macular degeneration, which can help reduce vision loss or recover vision when combined with treatment.
- People diagnosed with diabetes are at high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
- Diabetic retinopathy can cause loss of vision or blindness, due to heightened blood sugar levels interfering with blood vessels in the retina.
- The best way to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy is to control blood sugar levels. Speak with a doctor for ways to manage your blood sugar levels.
- Routine eye exams can help prevent vision loss by allowing an early diagnosis and early treatment to begin.
- Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to blindness, as a result of high pressure building up inside the eye.
- African American, Asian, and Hispanic people, as well as people over the age of 60, are at increased risk of developing glaucoma.
- Having very near-sighted or far-sighted vision, using steroid medications, having high eye pressure, having a thin central cornea, and having previously had an eye injury are also factors that increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
- Open-angle glaucoma is a hereditary form of the disease, with familial history of such increasing the risk of developing the disease yourself.
- Ophthalmologists recommend everyone receive a baseline eye exam at age 40 to screen for early signs of glaucoma.
- Routine eye exams can prevent the spread of glaucoma and reduce the severity of the disease through proper treatment.
The point to emphasize in all of these diseases is the importance of regular eye exams to ensure the disease can be detected early and vision loss can be limited through proper treatment. Each of the lifestyle modifications mentioned in the beginning are excellent ways to reduce the risk of developing each of these diseases.
You’re the apple of your eye so take good care of yourself!
About our partner in eye health:
Lumata Health is an organization devoted to removing barriers inhibiting patient treatment for eye diseases. Their group offers tools and resources to patients and ensure a proper understanding, treatment, and care of eye health is taken to manage the disease. Check out their website here: https://lumatahealth.com/