Woman trying on glasses

May is Healthy Vision Month, and that means it’s the perfect time of year to commit yourself to have healthier vision. While people often think of their general health, eye health gets left by the wayside.

But like you need to see a doctor regularly for a physical, you need to see an eye doctor as well so they can make sure your eyes are healthy. There are also steps you can take on your own to ensure your eyes remain healthy.

Keep reading for a few tips on how to get the most out of this month and focus on your long-term eye health:

Stay Informed

You need to know what to look out for when it comes to your eye health. Identifying symptoms that could be a sign of a serious problem and getting eye exams can save your vision from untreated eye conditions. Some symptoms you should see an eye doctor about include:

  • Eye pain
  • An increase in floaters
  • Halos
  • Decreased vision
  • Inflammation/irritation

You should also see an eye doctor for any symptom that persists over a long period of time, like itching or watering. You should also be aware of your risk level for various eye conditions.

Your ophthalmologist can help you assess your risk level, but the most common risk factor when it comes to your eye health is age. Adults over the age of 40 are at much higher risk for eye disease than adults who are younger.

Other factors include your family history, what medication you take, and pre-existing conditions. These include diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

If you’re at high risk, you should be extra vigilant about your eye health and have frequent eye exams.

Have Regular Eye Exams

Regardless of your risk for eye disease, you should see an eye doctor regularly. For healthy adults under the age of 40, that may mean every year or two.

But for anyone over the age of 40, and especially anyone over the age of 50, annual eye exams are a must. When you’re older, you’re at an increased risk for eye conditions, many of which cause irreversible damage to your vision.

These common age-related conditions include macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Most of these conditions cause irreversible damage to your vision.

Only cataracts are reversible by having cataract surgery. Any vision lost due to these conditions cannot be restored.

The best way to save your vision from these diseases is to catch them early. To do that, you need regular eye exams. Talk to your eye doctor about how often they recommend you have a comprehensive exam based on your risk level.

Stay Healthy

The best way to keep your eyes healthy, besides regular eye exams, is to stay healthy. Stay active, don’t smoke, and eat a balanced diet.

Dark leafy greens and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and seeds, are especially good for eye health. Also be sure to always wear sunglasses when it’s bright out.

UV damage from sunlight can cause damage to your eyes over time. If you wear contacts, be sure to always wash your hands before changing them out!

Wondering if you’re doing everything you can to keep your eyes healthy? Schedule an appointment with the experts at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME to find out how you can continue to keep your eyes happy and healthy!