Summer always seems to fly by so fast and the next thing you know, September is right around the corner and it’s already time to start getting your children ready to go back to school. But in the flurry of books and pencils, backpacks, crayons and calculators, making sure that their vision is up to par is every bit as important as assuring that they have enough binders. When was their last eye exam? Have they been squinting while watching TV or looking at a computer screen? Should you be scheduling an appointment with your optometrist?
20/20 is a term commonly used as the definition of perfect eyesight. But is that really what it means? Actually, it is much more complicated than that. In fact, even the term perfect, isn’t that easily defined when it comes to your vision.
In 1862, Herman Snellen developed a system for measuring the sharpness of vision, known as visual acuity. The system measures your ability to see letters or numbers on a chart at a prescribed distance, generally 20 feet. The measurement system is known as Snellen fractions and read as: 20/20, 20/40, 20/60, etc. Using this measurement system, a person with 20/20 vision would be considered as having “normal” vision, meaning that they can see letters and numbers at 20 feet that they average person should be able to see at 20 feet. A person with 20/200 would be considered legally blind.
March 23rd is World Optometry Day, an excellent time to get to know your Optometrist. Question 1: What do you know about your Optometrist? Do you know what they do? Question 2: When was the last time you saw yours? Question 3…Wait! Why don’t we work on questions one and two first, and that sneaky Question 1.5 I snuck in the middle.
What is an Optometrist?
Healthy eyes and vision are all part of a child’s development and with cell phones, tablets, hand held video game devices, and computers all part of a daily routine, it’s worth considering how much time your child is spending per day in front of a computer screen.
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is computer eye strain caused by our brain reacting differently to characters on a computer screen then they do on printed material. There are levels of contrast and definition on computer screens that make the characters harder to focus on, and this continuous focusing muscles of the eyes creates fatigue and eye strain. Eye glasses and reading glasses will typically optimize vision but they are not ideal when working on a computer for excessive periods of time.
One of the harshest elements your eyes will ever encounter is the ultraviolet or UV rays from the sun. UV rays are a leading cause of skin cancer as well as a major cause of eye diseases, specifically cataracts. The increase of skin cancer around the eyelids is attributed to the lack of sunscreen usage on the skin surrounding the eyes. The best protection for your eyes is proper prevention.
How to Protect Yourself
Protecting your eyes from the sun is just as important as protecting your skin. Since sunscreen, obviously, cannot be used, exterior barriers must be used. The most common being sunglasses. Remember, not all sunglasses are created equal. There are ground rules for choosing and wearing sunglasses:
As the body matures, and the Golden years approach, the eye is one of the first organs to show signs of wear. With age come different demands on eye health, which your eye doctor is able to aid in the treatment of. During your annual exam, your doctor will be looking for signs and symptoms of a few standard age-related conditions.
Most common in ages over 55, cataracts are a condition that involves cloudiness on the lens, which alters vision. Cataracts are treated with corrective lenses or surgical removal. Further vision correction is required after surgical removal of cataracts. Your eye doctor will be able to decide which vision correction is best for you.
Although often overlooked, the health of your eye is an important factor in the overall health of your mind and body. When it comes to family eye care, regular eye exams should be as routine as well-visits to the family practitioner and the dentist. Eye care is typically covered by standard vision insurance plans, and can include annual eye exams and most treatments for eye ailments.
One of the most common ailments that an otherwise healthy person complains about is a headache. The most common type of headache is a tension type headache, which affects two-thirds of men and over 80% of the female population. Suffering from a headache is unbearable in many circumstances, and while most people want to immediately name the cause as tension, often headaches are caused by eye strain.
Headaches that are eye-related often occur after an extended period of computer, television, reading, or focused work. Other symptoms of eye-related headaches are burning eyes, fatigue, migraines, throbbing pain, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, light flashes, and missing areas of vision.