When was the last time you had an eye exam? For the majority of us, it’s not often enough. Among those who have had an eye exam recently, less than half (44%) have them annually.* The health of our eyes so often takes a back seat to finding the perfect mascara or covering up dark circles. 85% of Americans know that UV rays can damage our eyes, yet only 65% of us wear sunglasses for protection instead of just a fashion statement, and only 39% of us make our kids wear sunglasses.**
Just seeing well doesn’t always translate to good eye health. Supported by ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses, a new radio program called Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones shares healthy eye tips just in time for the beach, picnics, summer sports and barbecues on the deck. Hosted by leading national health expert Val Jones, M.D., CEO of Better Health, LLC, a network of popular health bloggers, she is joined by leading experts from around the country to take a closer look at three vital areas to maintaining eye healthy: importance of eye exams, contact lens compliance, and protecting eyes from UV rays. “More than one in three parents has never taken their children for a vision assessment,” says Dr. Jones. “Many of us share the misguided belief that if we are seeing well, our eyes are healthy. No matter what age you are, it’s so important to see an eye doctor on an annual basis.”
Children should be checked to ensure that their vision is developing properly. Optometrist Robert Rosenthal, O.D., chimes in noting that “a child should be seen [by an eye care professional] between the age of six months to a year. If there is an [eye health] issue with a child, we want to catch it very early.” An eye exam should be treated as an extension of your annual physical to monitor your overall health and wellbeing. For contact lens wearers, it is also important to comply with the proper wear and care. Optometrist Susan Resnick, O.D., warns that misusing contact lenses can put you at risk for a variety of issues, some of which are potentially serious. “New contact lens wearers are very keen on following directions, and are motivated to do everything right,” says Resnick. She recommends that long-time contact lens users should follow their lead and maintain the correct replacement schedule. ACUMINDER.com is a free online reminder service to remind you when you are due for an eye exam and when to replace your contact lenses.
Much of the ultraviolet radiation that we are exposed to in our lifetime occurs before we reach adulthood. Children’s pupils are larger than adult pupils so more light can get into their eyes. Stephen Cohen, O.D. stresses the importance of eye protection particularly in the summer months; “UVB rays are a contributing factor to the development of cataracts,” says Dr. Cohen who recommends wearing UV blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when in the sun, and UV blocking contact lenses. “I am an advocate of contact lenses that block ultraviolet radiation,” he explains. The average pair of contact lenses blocks only 10-20 percent of ultraviolet radiation. ACUVUE® OASYS® lenses have the highest level of UV-blocking of any contact lens on the market, blocking 90 percent of UVA rays and 99 percent of UVB. UV radiation can sneak in through the tops and sides of your sunglasses and even the widest-brimmed hat cannot protect against UV rays that are reflected up off of surfaces like water, sand, grass and pavement.