07 Aug 2014

National Eye Exam Month: You Can Make A Difference

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Eyes, they say, are the window to the soul. Infants as young as a few weeks old start to make eye contact, and from there, bonding is largely facilitated by locking in the gaze of others.  As we grow, our sight serves as the strongest of our five senses, affecting everything from light and color awareness to being able to read what we’ve just typed out on the keyboard. Those who lack eyesight, at any level, are therefore functioning much differently.  Due to vision’s prominence in our lives, eyesight health is of primary concern, and therefore eyesight-correction devices are all the talk, from glasses to contacts to laser surgery. By later ages, most people have some sort of eyesight aid to get their vision as close to 20/20 as possible at all times.

In 1989, Sears Optical declared August as National Eye Exam Month. While clearly Sears had a commercial interest in this declaration, the positive focus benefits the masses. It is vital to take care of our eyes, including assessing their functionality with a routine eye exam.

We often think of eyesight as out of control, and that the only thing we can do is tweak it with glasses/contacts/laser surgery.  However, the good news is that we can influence our eye health via nutrition, relaxation, and more specifically – regimenting screen time.

Here are some top tips for keeping eyesight levels under control, and even, with time, improving eyesight.


Omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E are what you’re going for. These can be acquired from the following foods:

    • Oily fish such as tuna and salmon
    • Green leafies like collards, kale, and spinach
    • Protein from beans, nuts, and eggs
    • Carrots (their Beta Carotene gets converted to Vitamin A)
    • Citrus fruits and juices.


Dr. Joseph Mercola, of Mercola.com and a Huffington Post wellness expert, says that squinting actually overuses the eye muscles, wearing them down over time. The best way to strengthen them, interestingly, is to relax them.  Similarly, advises Dr. Mercola, if you feel your eyes getting dry, blink quickly several times. In order to avoid squinting in the sunlight, use a visor in order to allow some of the healthy sun’s rays into your eyes while avoiding the need to squint.

Regimenting Screen Time

We are now a screen culture. Be it TVs, laptops, and the ever-present smart phones, are eyes are glued. The key to keeping eyes healthy with screen usage is to do the following:

  • Darken the screen to a level whereby you can feel your eyes are relaxed.
  • Avoid light glare, using an anti-glare screen if needed.
  • Take breaks to relax your eyes – an apropos rule of thumb is 20/20/20 – every twenty minutes, look away from your computer at someone 20 feet away, for twenty seconds.*

At Rockaway Care Center, we are all about wellness, including, of course, eyesight. So take the time to get your eyes checked and know where you stand.  And no matter what your status, you can at least keep your eyesight level, if not improve it, via nutrition, relaxation, and prudent screen use.

*Source: WebMD


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