May is Healthy Vision Month

Categories: Blog, Other, Uncategorized

Did you know that May is Healthy Vision Month?

Indian boy having his eyes examined by a community health worker
This Indian boy needs to have his eyes examined, just like any child should, to maintain healthy vision.

As an organization that works with people who lack ready access to eye health care or education, Operation Eyesight feels strongly about eye health and safety.

We’re motivated by the fact that many eye health issues occur because of a lack of knowledge. That’s a big issue in remote parts of Africa and South Asia where eye care specialists and eye health educators are few and far between. But here in Canada, even though we’re well-served in the areas of optometry and ophthalmology, we still need to think about our own eye health.

Digital eye strain

In today’s world of technology, many of us spend hours each day staring at a computer or a smart phone screen. What we might not realize is that this causes tremendous eye strain. Watch for headaches, blurred vision, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes, and other symptoms.

It’s probably time to give your eyes a break from the screen! Have you heard of the 20-20-20 Rule? Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. This practice can help relieve some of the symptoms of digital eye strain.

Younger people, it has been suggested, are also vulnerable to eye damage. With the widespread use of video games and mobile phones that have small screens, kids are becoming more susceptible to developing myopia or near-sightedness.

Cataract

Cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lenses that robs many people of sight. One group that has to pay special attention are seniors, simply because of age-related issues like cataract and macular degeneration. But did you know cataract can also affect children?

Regular eye exams can save sight

Regular eye exam
Like all children around the world, this Kenyan boy needs regular eye exams to avoid vision problems. (Photo by Ric Rowan)

But some kinds of eye damage don’t have obvious symptoms, which is why regular eye exams are so important.

Here’s what the Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends for eye exams:

  • Infants and toddlers between age six and nine months
  • Preschool children should undergo an eye examination between ages two and five, and prior to entering elementary school
  • School age children (six to 19 years) annually
  • Adults (20 to 64 years) every two to three years
  • Older adults (65 years and older) annually

During this Healthy Vision Month, these are some things you should keep in mind as you look after your own and your family’s health. As we continue support people in Africa and South Asia who are threatened by blindness and low vision, we can’t forget that our own eyes need attention as well.

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