May is Healthy Vision Month! Follow the SCOPE plan and you’ll be giving your eyes the best chance at staying healthy.
- S: stop smoking and wear sunglasses.
- C: care for your contact lenses.
- O: oversee your overall health.
- P: purchase protective sports/work glasses.
- E: eat healthy and exercise.
Smoking & Sunglasses
Smoking has a long list of negative side effects that can alter your vision and increase your risk for eye diseases. Smoking causes the blood vessels in your retina to constrict, increasing blood pressure.
Wearing sunglasses that contain 100% UVA and UVB protection can shield your eyes from harmful UV radiation. Without proper protection, your eyes may be more susceptible to developing cataracts or eye cancer.
Contacts must be properly cared for to reduce your risk of eye infection (keratitis). Here are some tips to follow when using contacts:
- Always have clean hands before touching your contacts
- Never clean contacts with tap water or saliva
- Use a fresh batch of the proper disinfecting solution every time
- Do not sleep in contact lenses unless approved by your doctor
- Do not swim or shower in contact lenses
- Always have an extra pair of glasses to wear in case you need to remove your contacts
Some health problems can negatively affect your vision – even cause vision loss. Work with your physician to get conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes under control.
If you work in an environment where your eyes are at risk of injury (construction, automotive, medical lab, etc.), make sure you have the appropriate eyewear for your profession. Digital eyestrain is also quite common for office workers. Blue light filtering glasses can help as well as the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds.
Eating & Exercise
Living your healthiest life won’t guarantee you perfect vision for life, but it will certainly help. Eating fresh foods and minimizing processed or fried foods may protect you from developing eye diseases. Staying active will also help: try to incorporate moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.