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March: It is Save Your Vision Month

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It is easy to take vision for granted because all we have to do is open our eyes to see the world around us!  Most of us don’t think about eye care until we notice that something is wrong. Would you wait until your tooth hurt to go to the dentist or go every 6 months for preventative care? Just like visiting the dentist regularly, its is important to get annual eye exams. One of the main benefits of getting your eyes checked regularly is to measure the power of your eyes to correct any prescription that is measured so you can see clearly and comfortably.  This is much better than waiting for your eyes to strain which can cause headaches, blurred vision, and tired eyes.

Eye exams can tell you a lot about your general health.  For example, conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can often be detected during an eye exam.  Blood vessels in your eye become damaged and leaky which can lead to permanent vision loss. If these disorders are detected in your eye exam, your optometrist can communicate with your primary care physician so that you can be treated in a timely manner.

Today, we are surrounded by digital screens in the form of laptops, cell phones, tablets, and computers.  One of the biggest problems I see at our office is eye strain from digital screens. Many of our patients work on the computer for long hours and complain of dry eyes, blurred vision, and eye pain.  When using computers it is best to take breaks. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is called the 20-20-20 rule. Look at something at a distance so that your eyes can rest, preferably outside.

When we look at screens, we do not blink as much and that can dry out our eyes.  Studies show that our blink rate actually decreases about 50% while looking on a digital screen.  It is important to take breaks and remember to blink to prevent dryness. Artificial tears can be used to lubricate your eyes while on digital devices.  Blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light emitted from digital devices can cause headaches, migraines, fatigue and insomnia. Ask your doctor about special lenses that filter out harmful blue light.  We only get one set of eyes, so it is important to take a preventative approach to eye care by making sure you get your eye exam at least once a year.


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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