May is healthy vision month.

May brings longer days, spring flowers, and healthy vision! Join us and the National Eye Institute (NEI) in celebrating Healthy Vision Month by making eye health a priority for you and your family. Eye health is often taken for granted, so the NEI established Healthy Vision Month in 2003 to educate Americans on the following steps they can take to protect their vision:

Get a Dilated Eye Exam

Many people make sure to get to the dentist and the doctor regularly, but a visit to the eye doctor is just as important. Even if your vision seems perfectly fine, a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to know for sure. Many vision problems such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age related macular degeneration have no early symptoms and are much more treatable in the early stages. Be sure to make appointments for your children too. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), one in four elementary school age children have an undetected vision problem.

Know Your Family History

You may have gotten your green eyes from your mom, but did you know you could have also inherited her glaucoma? Many eye diseases are hereditary, so be sure to let your eye doctor know what eye conditions your family members have to determine if you’re at higher risk.

Wear Protective Eyewear

Each day, there are 2,000 job-related eye injuries and around 4,000 home-related eye injuries in the US. It’s far easier to prevent eye injuries than it is to treat them, so be sure to protect your eyes with protective eyewear when working with tools on the job or around the house. Eye injuries are also common while playing sports.

Wear Sunglasses

The simple act of putting on a pair of sunglasses when leaving the house can prevent short term problems like photokeratitis (sunburned corneas) and long term effects such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium. Be sure your sunglasses block out 99-100% of both UVA and UVB radiation.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Making health a priority can help your whole body including your eyes. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of diabetic eye disease. Not smoking and eating healthy foods full of vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids help maintain eye health. If you have a chronic condition, be sure to consult with your doctor to help prevent avoidable eye conditions.

These steps can help prevent vision loss and promote lifelong eye health. Be sure to spread the word about Healthy Vision Month to your friends and family! Tweet or post to Facebook about it or use the NEI toolkit for informational materials and other resources.

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.

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