May is Healthy Vision Month

WVU Eye Institute stresses value of prevention in eye care

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – May is Healthy Vision Month, and doctors at the West Virginia University Eye Institute are stressing the value of prevention in maintaining good eye health.

Periodic eye exams are important for people of all ages. A comprehensive exam can detect vision problems and determine whether there is a need for eye glasses or contact lenses. It can also detect eye diseases in the early stages when they’re the most treatable.

“Eighty percent of severe vision loss is preventable if it can be found early and effectively treated,” Ronald Gross, M.D., director of the WVU Eye Institute and chair of the WVU Department of Ophthalmology, said. “At the WVU Eye Institute, we are committed to improving the ability to do just that.”

But there’s plenty that people can do on their own to preserve their eyes and vision. When using tools and yard equipment, wear proper eye protection. A power saw, lawn mower, or weed whacker can propel objects into the eye with considerable force. In sports, appropriate eyewear can reduce eye trauma by up to 90 percent.

The measures taken to maintain good overall health will also benefit the eyes. For instance, maintaining an optimal body weight will reduce the risk of diabetes and therefore diabetic retinopathy. Controlling high blood pressure is also important for the eyes.

Green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, have nutrients beneficial to the eyes. There’s evidence that omega-3 fatty acids, such as is found in fish oil, also may support healthy vision.

Smoking, on the other hand, is harmful to the eyes, increasing risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, and other diseases. Those who smoke should quit. Wear sunglasses and hats to protect the eyes from the harm that strong sunlight can cause.

Eyes are sensitive and vulnerable organs that are exposed to countless risks in the environment, as well as risks from unwise lifestyle choices. Exercising reasonable precautions and embracing a healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward protecting sight for a lifetime.  
A nationally recognized center for vision care, research, education, and outreach, the WVU Eye Institute provides the full range of eye care under one roof — from routine exams to subspecialty medical and surgical treatment and laser vision correction. Each year, more than 35,000 West Virginians and patients from surrounding states receive treatment.

To learn more about the WVU Eye Institute or to make an appointment, call 304-598-4820 or visit www.wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Hospitals-Clinics/Eye-Institute.


For more information:
Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
ts: 05-05-14

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