Eye HealthLifestyle Topics
Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts – quit or avoid smoking to help keep your eyes healthy.
Know Your History
Those with a family history of eye disease are at a greater risk for developing eye diseases or conditions themselves.
Water & Contacts Don’t Mix
To help prevent eye infections, contact lenses should be removed before going swimming or in a hot tub.
It's Not OK to Skip a Day
To control glaucoma, take eye drops exactly as prescribed by your ophthalmologist—your sight depends on it.
Give your Eyes a Break
To prevent computer eyestrain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Know Your Eye Care Team
Make sure you are seeing the right eye care provider for your condition or treatment.
Are You Fit at 40?
A baseline eye exam is recommended at age 40, when the signs of disease and change in vision may start to occur.
Nearly One Third of Children in Study Had Correctable Refractive Errors
As kids head back to school or start kindergarten, it's the perfect time to make sure they have the best possible vision. A study of more than 10,000 preschoolers gives parents information on vision risks based on ethnicity and other factors and underscores the importance of early vision screenings.
Nearly a third of the preschoolers in the study had refractive errors, slight irregularities in eye shape that affect how well images can focus on the retina. About 4 percent were nearsighted, 21 percent were farsighted and 10 percent had astigmatism. All three of these refractive errors cause blurry vision. African-American kids were more likely to be nearsighted but less likely to be farsighted than Hispanic and non-Hispanic white children. Astigmatism was most likely among Hispanic children followed by African-Americans, and least likely in non-Hispanic white kids.
The study found that even when kids' refractive errors were mild, they were at higher risk of amblyopia and strabismus. These two conditions can occur separately or together, and need to be corrected as early in life as possible, ideally before kindergarten. If not treated, they can result in permanent, lifelong vision loss that can limit job options and enjoyment of life. For instance, either of these disorders can lead to loss of depth perception.
Strabismus is easier for a parent to spot, because one of the child's eyes may turn inward or outward, some or all of the time. In amblyopia, one eye is stronger than the other due to strabismus or other causes, but since the child may appear perfectly normal it can be hard for a parent to detect a problem. This is why preschoolers need to have vision screening by trained health professionals at their doctor's office, clinic or school.
Treatment for amblyopia is often as simple as "patching" the stronger eye for part of the day so that the weaker eye has to work harder, which helps it develop normally. Eyeglasses may be needed if the child also has a refractive error. Strabismus treatment sometimes involves surgery.