Many of us head to the doctor when we’ve had a bad cold for a couple of days, but it takes years for us to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Typically, unless there’s something significantly wrong, we shrug off any discomfort and put the blame on staring at a computer at work all day or forgetting the sunglasses at home. But taking care of our eyes may be more important than you realize. Did you know that an ophthalmologist can get a good idea of what your overall health is simply by completing a basic eye exam? If you want to protect your vision, it’s best to get in the habit of taking care of your eyes now, instead of when you start noticing problems.
If you’re looking for a local ophthalmologist in the Alexandria area, get in touch with Dr. Sabet, our team of eye doctors will ensure you get the best service and if necessary, the best treatment.
Did you know that your eyes can get sunburned? After years of being exposed to the sun, you need to protect both your skin and your eyes. And yes, this includes overcast or partly cloudy days as well. UV rays from the sun can eventually lead to cataracts, which gives your vision a blurry effect, it can thicken your eye tissue, and even lead to cancer around the eyes. When you’re shopping for a new pair of sunglasses, look for lenses with UVA and UVB coatings that will reduce the chance of these risks.
Smoking isn’t only harmful to your lungs, but can also damage your eyes. The smoke that you are breathing into your body, as well as the smoke lingering in the air, can harm your eyes over time. Those who do smoke are more likely to develop eye issues, such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, uveitis, and optic nerve damage. Lung cancer is scary enough, don’t add blindness to the should list too.
Schedule an Appointment With Your Local Ophthalmologist
Even if you don’t wear glasses or contacts, it’s still essential that you visit an eye doctor at least every two years (if you haven’t experienced any changes in vision). Every two years it’s important to make an appointment with an eye doctor for a basic exam. If any issues are found, you may need to see an ophthalmologist who can diagnose and treat eye problems. If problems are caught early, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, they can be slowed down.
We walk to our car looking at our phones, we stare at our computers all day at work, and we go home and look at our TVs all night — it’s time to take a break from the technology! Because we don’t blink as often when working on tasks that are closeup, it dries out our eyes, which can lead to scars, ulcers on the cornea, or even loss of vision. To prevent eye problems, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a break from whatever you’re doing for 20 seconds, and look at least 20 feet in the distance. This gives your eyes a chance to rest, refocus, and rehydrate.
Wear Safety Goggles
We understand that no one is going to walk down the runway in safety goggles, but you’re not going for a fashionable look when it comes to protecting your eyes from flying pieces of wood in your workshop. Whether you’re working in the yard, on the car, or in the shop, safety glasses will keep debris out of your eye. Keep glasses fit snugly around your head.
As with many doctors, your local ophthalmologist will probably ask about your family history to determine if you have a higher chance of developing certain conditions. An eye doctor will take into consideration if your family, or yourself, has a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as if you are over 65 or if you are African-American over the age of 40.
Easier said than done, right? Even if you’re tired of hearing about keeping a healthy lifestyle, we’re going to say it again. So much attention is put on your heart and brain, but exercise and eating healthily can also benefit your eyes. Antioxidants, for example, can help reduce the risk of cataracts. Other foods, such as fruits, colorful vegetables, leafy greens, and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids contain healthy nutrients that help your eyes. As for exercising, keeping an active lifestyle can help lower the risk of high blood pressure.
Even though wearing contacts is convenient, they come with their own risks. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before you put them in and before you take them out. When you don’t properly care for your contact lenses, it can cause inflammation of the cornea. Inflammation can many times be treated, but some infections can cause permanent damage. Pay attention to how your eyes feel when wearing lenses as well. If they begin looking red or feeling irritated, take them out and use your glasses.
Sina J. Sabet, your local Alexandria ophthalmologist, is passionate about helping people protect and treat their eyes. When properly cared for, your eyes will continue to help you see and love the world around you. But it takes knowing how to care for them as well as knowing the signs of when something is wrong. If you ever experience a change in your vision, schedule an appointment with our eye doctors right away. When caught early, many eye issues can be treated.