How do I help myself, and protect my vision?
Eye diseases such as Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy start slowly. They can go for many years without symptoms, even though they are causing damage to your eye. Only an eye doctor can tell if you are at risk.
But, more than half of us don’t go to the eye doctor as often as we should. Days and weeks matter. Missing a yearly appointment can leave the door open for a small problem to turn into a bigger problem.
Even though eye problems start slowly – they can get worse very quickly. Left unchecked, vision can be lost in a matter of days. Just because you don’t see any symptoms doesn’t mean you should skip your annual eye check-up. Your doctor can see things that you can’t.
Regular eye checks are the most important thing you can do for your eyes.
A comprehensive eye exam can detect many retinal diseases.
There are 20 million people in the US alone with early stage macular and retinal disease. One in three people over the age of 70 have it. Your eye doctor will often let you know you have early stages of disease when you are in your 50’s and 60’s. Because these diseases are unpredictable – they can get worse quickly – and your eye doctor needs your help.
Take two minutes a week – and you can easily check your vision. The KeepSight system is one way to do this. KeepSight was developed with support of the US National Eye Institute in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. It helps people to look for changes in their vision that could be a sign that their eyes are changing. There are many ways your vision could change – blurry spots, wavy spots, dark patches. We have a variety of tools and options.
If these symptoms are treated early – vision loss can be avoided. Treatments work better when started early – and treatments don’t work as well if we wait too long.
If you see any change to your vision – your doctor wants you to call right away. Don’t Delay!
Call your eye doctor’s office and tell the receptionist: “I was checking my vision, and something is changing. The doctor says that I have ______ (AMD, Diabetic Retinopathy) and that I should come in right away if I see any changes.”
Healthy habits will keep your eyes healthy longer. Its not complicated – the same things that are good for your heart – are also good for your eyes. Stopping smoking, eating right, and exercise all help your heart and eyes stay healthy longer.
We don’t have to become natural food experts to get the rewards of a good diet. Every little bit helps. Make a game out of trying some new ways to add healthy foods to your lunch or dinner and see what you enjoy. Leafy green vegetables and foods lower in fat are typically recommended. When you find something new, that is wonderful.
Taking vitamins is one way to know that we are getting the critical nutrients your body needs to help protect our vision. Vitamins that follow the AREDS2 formula (such as Preservision and I-Caps) have been proven to help preserve healthy vision. Taking eye vitamins has been shown that it can help add months and years of healthy vision to your life.
Smoking is a significant risk factor for advanced macular degeneration.
Stopping smoking can reduce your chances of vision loss.