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Healthy Living

October is Family Eye Care Month

Family Eye Health: Protect the Gift of Sight

Eye conditions and diseases that can rob your family of their vision can strike at any time in life, from newborn to old age.

In honor of Family Eye Care Month, celebrated throughout the month of October, Eye doctors across the country are urging people to take care of their eyes, as well as the eyes of their family. Pay attention to warning signs and visit an Eye doctor regularly.

Many people associate eye problems with getting older. While it's true that seniors are at higher risk for a lot of eye problems, some of those problems actually start earlier and vision loss could have been prevented if the problem was caught sooner. Preschoolers, senior citizens and people with diabetes and other with high risk factors for certain eye problems all need regular eye care. Too often they don't get it, and the sad result is vision loss.

Toddlers should be screened before the age of 5, for common childhood eye problems, like:

  • strabismus (crossed eyes) and
  • amblyopia (lazy eye), as well as refractive errors such as
  • nearsightedness and
  • farsightedness.

Some warning signs that your child may have vision problems include

  • wandering or crossed eyes,
  • a family history of childhood vision problems,
  • a disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects and
  • squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching TV.

Most young people have healthy eyes, but they still need to take care of their vision. In young adulthood, the major danger to the eyes is accidental injury. Sports, household accidents and even jump-starting a car can cause devastating eye injuries leading to vision loss. Doctors recommend protective eyewear for all activities that present a risk of eye injury. Check with your Eye doctor for a recommendation on protective eyewear appropriate for your activities.

Even the young adult and middle age groups can be affected by eye problems. Those at risk for disease include African-Americans over age 40 (glaucoma), people with diabetes (diabetic retinopathy) and those with a family history of eye problems. If you fall into one of these groups, check with your Eye doctor to find out how often you need to have a complete eye exam.

Seniors over age 65 should be examined at least every one to two years for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye conditions. Those with diabetes should be examined every year.

Protecting your eyes from accidents, and early detection and treatment of eye problems are the best ways for you and your family to take care of your vision throughout life. So if you or your family are at risk for eye disease or experience any eye problems, visit your Eye doctor

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