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Low Vision

How to Improve Your Vision

Your eyes give you so much, isn’t it time to give back?

In the US, it’s been estimated that 12 million people over the age of 40 have some type of vision impairment! Yet, while the numbers are overwhelming, it doesn’t mean poor eyesight is simply inevitable as you age.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Myopia, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Sidney eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Local Eye clinic in Sidney, British Columbia

In addition to taking advantage of our expert eye care services, our eye doctor shares 7 ways to improve and protect your eyes against problems.

  1. Eat a nutritious diet: Eating heart-healthy foods also helps to protect your vision. That means following a diet with minimal saturated fats and salt, a moderate amount of lean proteins (legumes and nuts are great options), whole grains, and plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. In particular, antioxidant-rich foods, such as strawberries, walnuts, and dark leafy greens, can help decrease your chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
  2. Visit your eye doctor for eye exams: A comprehensive eye exam can pick up on problems you may not have noticed, because many eye diseases don’t present symptoms at the early stages. That’s why regular eye exams by an eye care professional (not the same as basic vision screening done at your local pharmacy!) are critical, even if you have no vision complaints. Plus, as you age, it’s common for your vision to naturally change, and keeping your prescription up to date is a no-brainer keeping your vision clear.
  3. Keep chronic health conditions stable: Many chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, put your vision at a higher risk of complications. However, controlling your condition drastically reduces your chances of a problem. With diabetes, keeping blood sugars in the parameters recommended by your physician can help prevent diabetic retinopathy from developing and progressing. Controlling blood pressure also helps prevent retinal bleeding and swelling.
  4. Quit smoking: While genetics may be the number one risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, smoking is the number two risk factor! Smoking is also linked to cataract progression. You may not be able to control the genes you inherit, but you can control whether or not you smoke.
  5. Moisturize dry eyes: Dry eye syndrome is common, and we offer specialized dry eye exams and personalized treatments as a part of our eye care services. The frontline therapy for gritty and stinging dry eyes is lubricating eye drops, which can bring soothing relief and clarify your sight. There’s a variety of eye drops out there, and our eye doctor will recommend the most helpful type for your condition.
  6. Wear sunglasses & protective eyewear: Sunglasses with full UVA and UVB protection will keep your eyes safe against the dangers posed by the sun. However, we offer other types of safety eyewear in our eye care center, in addition to a fashionable collection of sunglasses. People often forget about safety goggles and sports glasses, which can prevent sight-threatening eye injuries when you’re working in the yard or around the house, or when you’re playing sports.Blue light blocking eyewear is another essential item for eye safety. These glasses are fit with lenses that protect your vision against artificial blue light, which is emitted from all digital screens. Not only does blue light disrupt your sleep cycle and leave you feeling fatigued, but it has also been linked to a higher risk of eye disease.
  7. Discard old makeup: Eye care also involves keeping unsafe products out of your eyes. Old makeup, such as mascara and eyeliner, often breed bacteria that lead to eye infection and painful symptoms, such as redness, dryness, and itchiness. Be kind to your eyes by updating your eye makeup regularly!

We hope these healthy habits will help you safeguard your vision and independence and enhance your beautiful view of life for as long as possible!

Ray Dahl Optical & Optometrists, your local Sidney eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Mental Health and Your Vision

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the USA; in Canada, Mental Health week is May 6th to 12th. Since 1949, it has been observed throughout the United States as a way of drawing attention to the importance of proper mental health. This year’s theme is #4Mind4Body. The idea is that using elements around us, such as the people in our lives, faith, nature, and even pets, can strengthen wellness and overall mental health.

Did you know that your vision can affect your mental health? While things like stress, trauma, and family history are factors that impact mental health, vision can also impact it.

How Does Vision Affect Mental Health?

Certain types of eye diseases and visual impairments can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. This is particularly common in cases of severe vision loss. Patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, for example, can experience mild to acute vision loss. This can make everyday activities like driving, running errands, watching TV, using a computer, or cooking, a difficult and painful experience. When this happens, it can cause a loss of independence, potentially leaving the person mentally and emotionally devastated.

Like most surgical procedures, LASIK corrective surgery is permanent and irreversible. Although it has very high success rates, LASIK has been considered the cause of depression and mental health issues in a few instances.

Kids’ Vision and Mental Health

Increased screen time among school-age children and teens has been shown to reduce emotional stability and cause repeated distractions and difficulty completing tasks, while also increasing the likelihood of developing nearsightedness.

Kids with visual problems often experience difficulty in school. If they can’t see the board clearly or constantly struggle with homework due to poor vision, they may act out their frustration or have trouble getting along with their peers.

Coping with Vision Problems

One of the most important ways to cope with visual problems is awareness. Simply paying attention to the signs and symptoms — whether the patient is an adult or a child — is a crucial first step.

Family members, close friends, colleagues, parents, and teachers can all play an important role in detecting emotional suffering in those with visual difficulties. Pay attention to signs of changes in behavior, such as a loss of appetite, persistent exhaustion, or decreased interest in favorite activities.

Thankfully, many common vision problems are treatable. Things like double vision, hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eye), and post-concussion vision difficulties can be managed. Vision correction devices, therapeutic lenses, visual exercises, or special prism glasses may help provide the visual clarity you need. Your primary eye doctor can help and a vision therapist or low vision expert may make a significant impact on your quality of life.

How You Can Help

There are some things you can do on your own to raise awareness about good mental health:

Speak Up

Often, just talking about mental health struggles can be incredibly empowering. Ask for help from family and friends or find a local support group. Be open and honest about what you’re going through and talk with others who are going through the same thing. Remember: you’re not alone.

If you experience any type of sudden changes to your vision — even if it’s temporary — talk to your eye doctor. A delay in treatment may have more serious consequences, so speak up and don’t wait.

Get Social

Developing healthy personal relationships improves mental health. People with strong social connections are less likely to experience severe depression and may even live longer. Go out with friends, join a club, or consider volunteering.

Have an Animal

Having a pet has been shown to boost mental health and help combat feelings of loneliness. Guide dogs can be especially beneficial for people suffering from vision loss.

Use Visual Aids

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues caused by vision loss, visual aids can help. Devices like magnifiers or telescopic lenses can enlarge text, images, and objects, so you can see them more clearly and in greater detail.

Kids can benefit from vision correction like glasses, contacts, or specialized lenses for more severe cases of refractive errors. Vision therapy may be an option, too. It is a customized program of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions.

Always talk to your eye doctor about any concerns, questions, or struggles.

Thanks to programs like Mental Health Awareness Month, there is less of a stigma around mental health than just a few decades ago. Advancements in medical technologies and scientific research have led to innovative solutions for better vision care.

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, share your share your struggles, stories, and successes with others. Use the hashtag #Mind4Body and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.