As your ophthalmologist in Chicago will tell you, eye care comes down to more than just regular vision check-ups. October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, and there are plenty of steps you can take to help protect your eyes from harm. Read on for some tips on preventing eye injuries.
Gear Up for Sports
Whether you’re a member of an active sports league, or you only play the occasional game of baseball with friends or colleagues, protecting your eyes while participating in athletic activities can be essential for protecting your eye health. While there are many sports that can pose a threat to your eyes, some of the ones that are commonly associated with eye injuries include baseball, hockey, paintball, racquetball, and fishing.
Wear Shades During the Day
With the arrival of fall, you may be less concerned with protecting your body from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, it’s important to realize that UV rays reach the earth’s surface year-round, even on cloudy days. For this reason, you should continue wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays throughout the fall and winter. This eye safety step is particularly important if you plan to spend time skiing or on the water, as sunlight can reflect off of snow and water and potentially harm your eyes. According to ophthalmologists, eyes can suffer something similar to a sunburn, called photokeratitis, when damaged by UV rays.
Practice Safety Throughout Projects
If you have a home improvement to-do list that you’re hoping to get through this season, then your eye doctor would want you to remember to practice good eye safety as you take on each of these tasks. Even small projects, such as installing shelving or trimming shrubs, can lead to eye injuries if you’re not careful. To protect your eyes from the dangers of flying objects like nails, wood splinters, and branches, remember to wear safety glasses or another form of protective eye wear while working on your DIY projects.
September is Healthy Aging Month, and people of all ages and walks of life are invited to participate. After all, good health in your golden years starts with a commitment to preventive wellness earlier in life. And if you’re already eligible for an AARP card, it’s never too late to get serious about your wellness. As you celebrate each passing year, you should pay attention to the changing needs of your eye health. In Chicago, eye doctors encourage patients to schedule regular exams, even if they don’t wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Schedule an eye exam.
Your ophthalmologist will let you know how often you should schedule an eye exam. If you’re 65 or older, you’ll probably need one every year or two. A comprehensive eye exam is an opportunity for the doctor to check for potential red flags of eye disease. With early treatment, it’s possible to delay the progression of eye diseases. It isn’t always easy to remember to schedule an appointment that only happens every year or two. Solve this problem by making your next appointment before you leave the optician’s office, and check that the office will send you a reminder card or email.
Sunglasses are much more than just a fashion statement. They can protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV light increases the risk of cancer, cataracts, and growths on the eye. Look for sunglasses that offer broad-spectrum UV protection, and wear them each time you go outdoors. If you wear prescription eyeglasses, you can visit an optical center to order prescription sunglasses. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can also help shield your eyes.
Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
There are dozens upon dozens of compelling reasons to quit smoking, including its detrimental effects on eye health. Smokers are more likely to be diagnosed with macular degeneration, cataracts, and dry eyes. They’re also at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, which can indirectly worsen eye health. It’s never too late in life to quit smoking. Consider it an investment in your future, just like saving for retirement. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Avoid being near anyone who is smoking, as secondhand smoking is also harmful.
Sports are a great way to get physically fit and connect with peers, but these activities are also risky. Thousands of sports-related eye injuries are reported each year in the U.S. Many of these are preventable. During Sports Eye Safety Month this April, talk to an eye doctor in Chicago about protecting your vision. Your ophthalmologist can help you learn about the potential risks of your favorite sports and how to reduce these risks.
Get Informed About the Risks
Ophthalmologists recognize low risk, high risk, and very high risk categories of sports. A low-risk sport is one that involves no airborne objects, no objects that are swung such as racquets, and no bodily collisions. Some common examples are swimming, cycling, and track and field. High-risk sports do involve those risk factors. A few examples are baseball, hockey, football, and fencing. A very high-risk sport is one that involves risk factors of eye injuries and does not require participants to wear eye protection, such as boxing and martial arts. When you see an eye care professional, he or she can advise you as to the types of eye injuries that might occur with your chosen sport. Most sports-related injuries are caused by blunt force trauma. Penetrating injuries are less common in sports, but cannot be completely ruled out. There has been at least one instance of a fishing hook penetrating an eye .
Choose Protective Eyewear
Protective eyewear should always be worn for high-risk and very high-risk sports, even if the sports organization does not require it. It isn’t wise to rely solely on face masks as a means to prevent eye injuries, since sports equipment or a teammate’s fingers could slip through the mask. Protective eyewear should be specific to the sport you’ve chosen. For example, your eye doctor will recommend sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses for playing basketball and racquet sports.
Encourage Compliance in Children
Some children may resist wearing protective eyewear, especially if their teammates aren’t wearing it or if they feel self-conscious about their looks. To encourage compliance, parents can explain what might happen if a child fails to wear protective eyewear. Older children may be told that, if they wear regular eyeglasses, these can shatter and penetrate the eyeball. Parents can convince younger children to protect their eyes by having them shut their eyes and try to perform common tasks without the benefit of sight.
Eye diseases like macular degeneration aren’t the only problems that can rob a person of his or her healthy vision. Injuries to the eye can occur in mere moments, but they can have life-changing consequences. Residents of the Chicago area can get some eye care tips from their ophthalmologist. Even when individuals take precautions to protect their vision, accidents can occur from time to time. If you’ve suffered an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention.
Work-related eye injuries are entirely too common. When a job exposes employees to hazardous chemicals, airborne debris, and other hazards, employers are supposed to provide proper protective gear, including safety goggles. However, it’s incumbent upon the employee to ensure that he or she follows safety guidelines and wears these goggles as needed. Adequate safety goggles are those that feature side shields. Other protective gear can include face shields , full-face respirators, welding helmets, work screens, and machine guarding. Individuals who wear eye glasses, rather than contact lenses, can consult an eye care professional about getting prescription safety goggles.
The workplace and the home are the two major places in which eye injuries occur. Eye doctors recommend taking precautions inside and outside the home to protect one’s eyes. Inside the home, some common hazards include cleaning chemicals, grease splatters, certain children’s toys such as projectiles, and tripping hazards. Champagne bottles are another potential hazard. When opening a champagne bottle, always point it at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and everyone else. After you’ve removed the wire hood, place a towel over the entire top of the bottle before twisting the cork out. Outside the home, yard work is often the greatest hazard for eye health. Before mowing the yard, walk over the entire area, removing branches and other potential projectiles. Do not allow children outdoors while mowing or doing other yardwork with power tools. Remember to wear safety goggles.
At the Gym
Thousands of people suffer from sports-related eye injuries each year. Some of those injuries occurred because the patients relied on their regular eye glasses to provide adequate protection. Safety goggles ought to be worn before engaging in certain sports, such as racquetball and basketball.