If it’s been a while since you’ve seen your optometrist for an eye exam, consider this your sign. Preventive eye care is to your vision what dental care is for your ability to chew and eat food.
The team at Stoggles understands that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care, especially when it comes to your vision.
We’ll talk about how the eyes work, cover some common eye conditions that can lead to permanent vision loss, and tell you exactly what you need to do to level up your vision care.
How Do Your Eyes Work?
Light reflected off of surfaces is how our brain interprets vision, and our eyes are the tools the brain uses to collect those light waves.
The cornea collects light and bends it, directing it into the pupil. The iris controls the amount of light the pupil allows in and sends it to the lens. The lens of your eye works like a camera lens, focusing the light directly on the retina, located in the back of the eye.
The retina is home to specialized retinal cells that are capable of transforming these light waves into electrical signals. The retinal cells send the electrical signals to the optic nerve, which transmits them to the brain. The brain then interprets the signals as sight.
Although the process is more complex, this is essentially how we see. Other structures in the eye, like the macula, are responsible for different parts of our vision. The macula, for instance, is responsible for fine, detailed, precise vision.
Common Causes of Vision Loss
The eyes are very fragile and not protected by thick layers of skin or bone. Instead, they are supported by orbital bones, eyelids, eyelashes, and a thick, fibrous tissue called the conjunctiva.
Vision loss affects nearly 2.2 billion people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, which means taking care of your eye health should top your list of easy ways to keep healthy.
Some of the most common causes of vision loss and blindness are completely avoidable and preventable with routine vision screenings, eye exams, and the smart use of protective eyewear when necessary.
Before we get into health conditions that can affect your vision health, we want to cover what’s possibly the easiest way to keep your eyes safe.
Here are the fast facts: Experts report that every day, 2,000 eye injuries occur in the United States that demand treatment — and that’s only in the workplace. That doesn’t even include all the eye injuries from what’s supposed to be fun, like playing beach volleyball, gardening, or popping your favorite bottle of champagne.
Here is the simple fix: 90% of these eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the proper protection, AKA PPE. We’re talking about safety eyewear. Safety eyewear can help protect your eyes while you’re doing everything from riding a bike to building a skyscraper to performing surgery.
Here is the good news: Safety specs (like us) have come a long way since the sweaty, awkward phase of their past — designer safety glasses can help you see clearly, shine flawlessly, and accomplish *insert task here* comfortably.
Topping the list of causes of vision loss both worldwide and in the United States are cataracts (according to the brilliant nerds at the CDC).
This condition is a gradual clouding of the lens in the eye that eventually leads to vision loss. Cataracts are caused by a breakdown of the proteins in the lens of the eye, which begins to clump together and form a cloudy appearance.
Cataracts can be hereditary or can happen as a result of lifestyle choices, like drinking too much alcohol or having uncontrolled diabetes.
Blood sugar that isn’t well regulated with diet, exercises, and/or medication can lead to a host of negative health problems that can rob you of your overall health. From high cholesterol to excess weight, the cards are stacked against you if you don’t take measures to control your diabetes.
Left untreated, diabetes can also damage your vision by damaging the small blood vessels located in the back of the eye, near the retina.
When these blood vessels are damaged, the result can be permanent vision loss. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Another age-related eye disease is glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition that affects the optic nerve and damages its ability to transmit electrical signals to your brain. Glaucoma can have many causes, but fluid retention in the front of the eye is a major factor.
This fluid retention causes pressure on the optic nerve, causing it to lose function.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Often thought of as an eye condition of the elderly, this eye problem is becoming more prevalent in younger populations, possibly due to the effects of blue light. The macula, located in the retina, helps you see fine, detailed images.
Through age and exposure to stressors like UV light, the macula begins to deteriorate, which causes irreversible vision problems.
Understanding Eye Exams
If you’ve never had an eye exam, don’t worry. We’ll help you understand why you need them and what to expect. Even though this is not an exam you need to study for, consider this list your test prep cheat sheet.
Here’s a look at what you can expect while at your eye doctor’s office and how frequently you need to have your eyes checked.
Standard Eye Exams
A basic, non-dilated eye exam is a good place to start. Your eye doctor will use a special machine to look into your eyes. They will also have you read letters and/or numbers from a chart to make sure your vision is clear.
Unlike other exams, you can’t cheat on this one. Hypothetically, you could scour the doctor’s office to memorize the letters ahead of time, but at that point, you’re only cheating yourself (insert 90s after-school special lesson here).
If you have certain health conditions or have reached a certain age, you should have your eyes dilated. In addition, if you have vision problems or wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, you’ll likely have your eyes dilated more frequently.
The Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam
For most adults, you’ll need a comprehensive dilated eye exam every couple of years or as frequently as your eye doctor deems appropriate. If you have certain risk factors for eye-related issues, you’ll need one more frequently.
To dilate your eyes, your doctor will use eye drops that cause your pupil to open wider, allowing more light in. This process isn’t painful, but it’s a good idea to take sunglasses with you.
Higher-risk groups need more frequent eye dilation.
- If you are African American and over the age of 40, you are at higher risk of developing glaucoma and should have your eyes dilated once every two years.
- Adults over the age of 60 should have their eyes dilated every two years.
- Individuals with a family history of glaucoma should have a dilated eye exam every two years.
If you are diabetic, it is recommended that you have your eyes dilated yearly, no matter your age. Early detection of eye disease is key in the treatment and prevention of progressive eye conditions.
You can be proactive and keep your eyes healthy by maintaining your overall health and wellness and taking care of your eyes by wearing safety eyewear.
Here’s what your eyewear needs to keep your vision safe:
1. Preventing Eye Strain
Tired, fatigued eyes can lead to a condition called computer vision syndrome. This can cause headaches, itchy, watery eyes, or dry eyes. Eyestrain is often caused by exposure to blue light, which is emitted from the sun and also from digital devices like smartphones, LED televisions, and tablets.
Wearing a pair of blue light-blocking glasses can help block this light and prevent it from causing eye strain.
2. UV-A and UV-B Safety
UV (ultraviolet) rays can damage your eyes and cause your macula to age faster than it should. This can lead to early-onset macular degeneration. You may wear your sunglasses outside to prevent UV damage, but your eyes need this protection even when it’s cloudy.
Safety eyewear like Stoggles are made from lightweight, ultra-durable polycarbonate material, which is naturally UV-blocking without any lens tinting.
3. Preventing Eye Injuries
Eye-related injuries can happen on the job, at home, or even at play. Experts say that most eye injuries are completely preventable simply by wearing safety eyewear. Safety eyewear that is shatter resistant will offer the highest level of protection.
All Stoggles are ANSI Z87.1-2020 certified. This means they’ve passed a critical safety test: a high-mass test that ensures they can withstand the high-velocity test that ensures the lenses won’t shatter if struck by a flying particle.
4. Regular Eye Exams
If you’ve got a vision plan attached to your insurance, use it. Most vision plans even have an allowance for eyeglasses or contact lenses if they are needed. Your optometrist can help you understand the benefits of wearing corrective lenses for problems like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).
5. Supporting Ocular Health
Your diet is also important to your ocular health. Eating foods with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids can help support your vision, as well as taking a vitamin A supplement, which will help support the conjunctiva.
Creating a grocery shopping list? Focus on vitamins A, C, and E. Foods like leafy vegetables, cold-water fish, and beans (and foods high in zinc) can help contribute to good eye health.
5 Tips To Prevent Vision Loss
In addition to being proactive with your eye care, you can take steps to prevent vision loss and support your eye health in a 360-degree manner.
Here are our top five tips for keeping your vision for as long as possible:
1. Snack Practical
We all know the benefits of a healthy diet but don’t forget to add eye-healthy foods to your shopping list. Leafy green vegetables like spinach and collards are easy to toss into a smoothie, and vitamin C supports your eye health. Citrus fruits are also a source of vitamins and minerals essential for good eye health.
2. Limit Screen Time
It’s one of the best eye health tips you can follow. Limiting screen time protects against computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) include blurry vision, neck pain, headaches, eye strain, and fatigue.
If you sit in front of a computer screen all day, you can follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away from you.
3. Be UV Smart
You can wear sunglasses to help protect your eyes from UV rays, but another smart way to keep your eyes safe is by wearing safety eyewear that naturally blocks both UVA and UVB radiation.
For instance, polycarbonate material (like the type we use when we make Stoggles) is naturally UV protective without the need for tinting. That means you can keep your eyes safe from the radiation you are exposed to inside and outside, even on cloudy days.
4. Make Friends With Your Ophthalmologist
Getting regular eye exams can help you catch potential vision issues before they start. It can also ensure that if you have age-related vision loss, you can quickly get a prescription that fixes it. Unlike any rumors you may have heard, wearing corrective lenses does not cause your vision to worsen.
Regular checkups can also help ensure that you are taking the best possible care of your eyes and taking all the proactive measures you can to maintain eye health.
5. Wear Eye Protection
Keeping your eyes safe in every situation means wearing eye protection when you should. Stoggles make it easy to protect your eyes no matter what you’re doing or where you are. With streamlined designs and all the safety features you need, you can keep your style and keep your eyes protected no matter what you are doing.
When do you need eye protection? Practically everywhere:
- While at the computer to protect against blue light
- While exposed to UV radiation
- When you’re at risk of strikes or scrapes (like while doing yard work or playing sports)
- When exposed to chemicals like cleaning or spraying the lawn or doing any home DIY projects.
You might also need eye protection at work, depending on your occupation. OSHA works with the American National Standard Institute to develop the guidelines that are needed to keep you safe at work. Your employer can let you know if you need to wear eye protection on the job, and if so, choosing Stoggles can mean you retain safety and comfort (and, of course, impeccable style).
Stoggles: Your Eye Health Partner
No matter your occupation, it’s essential to take care of your eyes. Taking care of your eye health means understanding your vision benefits and using them, getting routine eye exams, and wearing corrective lenses if you need them.
Healthy eyes are also made in the kitchen through a balanced diet and the maintenance and regulation of health concerns that could interfere with your eyesight (like diabetes).
Lastly, protecting your eyes from injury will help prevent unnecessary vision loss or eye irritation. You can protect your eyes and your impeccable style at the same time with Stoggles. We believe in safety first, but style also first. That means you never have to sacrifice form for function.
Taking care of your eyes is a choice, but choosing to take care of them in style (in the hope it’ll encourage you to actually wear them) shouldn’t have to be a choice you ever have to make. Trust Stoggles to keep your eyes safe in style.