Eye Health Month Focuses on Eye Health & Safety

Focus on Eye Health & Safety (image courtesy of Wikipedia)April has been declared “Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month” by Prevent Blindness America (PBA), a non-profit organization.

April has also been declared “Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month” by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Both of these campaigns have the stated objective of educating the public about eye health and safety issues, and as part of them, the sponsoring organizations and others make available information and resources for patients and consumers highlighting eye health and safety issues.

Women’s Eye Health & Safety Month

In a news release for Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, the PBA states, “Women are more susceptible to vision issues due to longevity as well as hormonal factors, according to the NEI [National Eye Institute].”

“Every year, more women than men are diagnosed with eye diseases and conditions such as cataracts, dry eye, Fuchs’ dystrophy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and Sjögren’s syndrome,” according to PBA. “The ‘Vision Problems in the U.S.’ study from Prevent Blindness America (PBA) and the National Eye Institute (NEI) shows that of the more than 3.6 million Americans age 40 and older who suffer from visual impairment, including blindness, 2.3 million are women,” the PBA states.

“Because women have more risk of vision loss than do men, and because women have different risks than men, we want to be sure they pay heightened attention to saving their sight,” says said Ruth D. Williams, M.D., president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Here are some general tips issued by PBA on how to keep your eyes healthy:

  • Get an Eye Exam – All women should make regular eye exams part of their health routine. PBA recommends everyone receive a comprehensive eye exam by age 40, if not earlier, and follow up care as recommended by an eye care professional.
  • Know Your Family History – Genetics plays a key role in eye disease. Research your family’s health history and notify your eye care professional of any eye diseases that run in the family.
  • Eat Healthy – A diet rich in beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can also help guard against vision loss from eye disease.
  • Take Supplements – Antioxidants have been shown to actually reduce the progression of some eye illnesses, including AMD. Vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin C and zinc are good sources to help maintain eye health. Consult your physician before taking any vitamins or supplements.
  • Quit Smoking – Smoking, even second-hand smoke, increases the risk of eye disease.
  • Wear UV Eye Protection – When venturing outdoors, PBA recommends wearing brimmed hats in conjunction with UV-rated sunglasses (labeled: absorbs 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays). UV rays are extremely dangerous to the eyes and have been linked to the development of cataracts and AMD [Age-Related Macular Degeneration] later in life.”

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) invites the public to view its website for more information on women’s eye health and safety, including fact sheets on eye diseases, pregnancy and vision, and the safe use of cosmetics.

According to its website, Prevent Blindness America, founded in 1908, is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight.

Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), a non-profit association of Eye M.D.’s, highlights Preventing Eye Injuries, in connection with Sports Safety Awareness Month which takes place April 1-30.

“Protecting your eyes from injury is one of the most basic things you can do to keep your vision healthy throughout your life,” the AAO states.

According to the AAO, “the easiest step of all to prevent 90 percent of [eye] injuries [is] wearing the proper protective eyewear.”

Nearly half (44.7 percent) of all eye injuries occur in the home, according to a study cited on the AAO’s website (which was reported during the fifth-annual “Eye Injury Snapshot” conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma).

“More than 40 percent of eye injuries reported in the Eye Injury Snapshot were caused by projects and activities such as home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking. More than a third (34.2 percent) of injuries in the home occurred in living areas such as the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living or family room,” the AAO states.

Another 40 percent of eye injuries every year are related to sports or recreational activities, according to the AAO.

Further, “eyes can be damaged by sun exposure, not just chemicals, dust or objects,” the AAO reports.

“Among all eye injuries reported in the Eye Injury Snapshot, more than 78 percent of people were not wearing eyewear at the time of injury,” according to the AAO.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) provides additional resources on:

Eye Injury Prevention at Home

Eye Injury Prevention at Work

Children’s Eye Injuries: Prevention and Care

Protective Eyewear

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) states on its website that it is the largest national membership association of Eye M.D.s. Ophthalmologists are medical and osteopathic physicians who provide comprehensive eye care, including medical, surgical and optical care.

More Information

See related HelpingYouCare™ reports on:

May is Healthy Vision Month

New Study: Eating Fish & Omega-3 May Reduce Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Women

Healthy Eyes – Information for Healthy Vision.

For more information about eye health, including resources on multiple different eye diseases (A-Z), basic eye anatomy, eye care, and other information, see the website of the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

See also the HelpingYouCare™ resource pages on Eyesight Problems, including:

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