“Life’s most memorable experiences can happen in the blink of an eye.” This is what the “Think About Your Eyes” campaign for Save Your Vision Month (for the month of March) is all about, stressing the importance of routine eye care for everyone. We get the most information about the world around us from our sense of sight, but there are still many people who only go to the optometrist when they need a new prescription. Even if you check in with your doctor regularly, and go for your annual dentist appointment, your health care routine isn’t complete if you’re not going for comprehensive eye exams.

There are symptoms to be on the lookout for that may mean you are at risk of (or already in the process of developing): an eye disease like cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, digital fatigue, or diabetic retinopathy. Some common symptoms are:

  • Blurred vision that is not corrected by a change in prescription
  • Double/distorted vision
  • Glare from sunlight or artificial light (like car headlights at night)
  • Colours appearing faded or less vibrant
  • Eye floaters/spots
  • Shadows in field of vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Losing peripheral vision (tunnel vision)
  • Eye pain
  • Red eyes

Luckily, there are some precautions you can take that can help prevent eye disease:

  • Wear sunglasses (sunglasses that are UV 400 or greater filter out 99.9% of UVA and UVB light)
  • Wear proper protective eyewear for work and sports
  • Eat an eye-healthy diet rich in vitamins/nutrients like vitamin A, C, D, and E, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein, flavonoids, and omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, colourful fruits and vegetables, fish, etc.)
  • Don’t smoke (smoking is the number one cause of significant sight loss in people 50+ years old)
  • Maintain a healthy body weight (being physically active and keeping your weight in a healthy range helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy)
  • Practice healthier computer/screen habits
    • Limit your screen time
    • Take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away from you (looking farther away relaxes the focusing muscles in your eyes)
    • Limit glare by using an anti-glare screen on your computer monitor
    • Adjust the screen brightness so it matches the environment around you
    • Sit at a distance of at least 5x the width of the screen you’re looking at

Early detection is essential to limiting visual impairment and preventing progression towards severe visual handicap or blindness, so book a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist today. Let’s do our best to protect those baby blues or greens or browns… because sight is a gift!

– Bryn