The American Optometric Association has declared March “Save Your Vision” month. Our eyesight is something that’s all too easy to take for granted, but visual health is like caring for the rest of your body — prevention goes a long way. UV rays are a particularly important issue in Louisiana. The Environmental Projection Agency, acknowledges that the intensity
1.The Right Shades
To combat those harsh UV rays, Dr. Frank “Jay” Culotta, a retinologist with Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, recommends that all people, young and old, wear sunglasses with UV protection. If you’re not sure whether or not your shades have UV protection, have them checked out by an optometrist.
Watch Your Weight
How can weight affect eyesight? Obesity increases a person’s risk for diabetes, and diabetes can cause blindness. A 2016 report by the United Health Foundation stated that the rate of diabetes in Louisiana among people aged 50 to 64 jumped from 11.5 to 17.8 percent. The Prevent Blindness Foundation (preventblindness.org) says that all Americans with type 2 diabetes should have an annual dilated eye exam. While not everyone can control whether or not they get diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight is one way to lower your risk for it, and in turn, lower your risk for eye disease.
Green and Leafy
Macular degeneration is one of the biggest causes of cataracts and the leading cause of vision loss in Americans. It’s caused by the deterioration of the central part of the retina. Culotta says one way to help prevent the disease is to eat lots of green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens.
Vision loss can also be caused by physical trauma. Culotta says it is important to wear shatterproof polycarbonate safety glasses when hammering, grinding metal or playing racket sports.
“These tasks commonly cause traumatic injuries and intraocular foreign bodies that can have devastating effects on the vision,” says Culotta.