Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes
Adapted from nei.nhi.gov and cdc.gov
Your eyes are an important part of your health. You can do many things to keep them healthy and make sure you’re seeing your best. Follow these simple guidelines for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.
Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. In addition, many common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration, often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.
During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye—the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. This process enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you’re seeing your best.
Know your family’s eye health history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition, since many are hereditary. This information will help to determine if you’re at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.
Eat right to protect your sight. You’ve heard that carrots are good for your eyes. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables—particularly dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or collard greens—is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too.i Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you’re having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.
Wear protective eyewear. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for the activity in which you’re engaged. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do some sporting goods stores.
Quit smoking or never start. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.
Be cool and wear your shades. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This short exercise can help reduce eyestrain.
Clean your hands and your contact lenses—properly. To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate. Learn more about keeping your eyes healthy while wearing contact lenses and listen to a podcast on keeping your eyes safe.
Practice workplace eye safety. Employers are required to provide a safe work environment. When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times, and encourage your coworkers to do the same.
For people with mental health and substance use conditions, wellness is not the absence of disease, illness or stress, but the presence of purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment, and happiness.1Wellness means overall well-being. It incorporates the mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. Each aspect of wellness can affect overall quality of life, so it is important to consider all aspects of health. This is especially important for people with mental health and substance use conditions because wellness directly relates to the quality and longevity of your life.
That’s why the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Wellness Initiative encourages you to incorporate the Eight Dimensions of Wellness in your life.
Michigan Tobacco Quitline
The Quitline’s Free Services Include:
- Information and referrals to local quit-tobacco resources and services
- Information for those concerned about a tobacco user
- Telephone coaching for Michigan residents with Medicare, Medicaid, County Health Insurance Plans, Veterans Insurance or who are uninsured.
- Enrollees will receive personalized advice on how to quit, information on medications, and assistance with choosing a quit date and creating a quit plan.
- Enrollees will receive four coaching calls during their quit attempt. They can also contact the Quitline between calls as needed.
- Eight weeks of free medication (nicotine patch, gum or lozenge) for qualified enrollees.
How to Reach Us:
- Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
- Hours: 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily
- Callers can leave a message for a return call within two business days
- Visit https://michigan.quitlogix.org and click on Enroll Now. A Quitline coach will call you shortly
Helping Smokers Quit
- The Quitline is funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health
- Over 75,400 callers since October 2003
- 43,960 people have taken the first step to a smokefree life since the Quitline opened
Who Should Get the Flu Shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Everyone older than 6 months is recommended for flu vaccination with rare exception. The following lists include all people recommended to get the flu vaccine, those who are not recommended to receive either the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine, and those who should take certain precautions before getting vaccinated. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions regarding which flu vaccine options are best for you and your family.
All persons aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated annually, with rare exceptions.
Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for persons who are at increased risk for severe complications from influenza, or who are at high risk for influenza-related outpatient, emergency department, or hospital visits. When vaccine supply is limited, vaccination efforts should focus on delivering vaccination to the following persons (no hierarchy is implied by order of listing):
- are aged 6 months through 4 years (59 months);
- are aged 50 years and older;
- have chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
- are immunosuppressed (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus);
- are or will be pregnant during the influenza season;
- are aged 6 months through 18 years and receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who therefore might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection;
- are residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities;
- are American Indians/Alaska Natives;
- are morbidly obese (body-mass index is 40 or greater);
- are health-care personnel;
- are household contacts and caregivers of children aged younger than 5 years and adults aged 50 years and older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children aged younger than 6 months; and
- are household contacts and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza.
Cherry Health provides flu shots. Talk to your provider.
Heart of the City Health Center Pharmacy also offers flu vaccines. Walk-ins welcome!
Reducing Drug Use, One Community at a Time
CADCA (Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America), the national training and advocacy organization for the community coalition model, speaks to the role of communities as follows.
Preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse is no easy task. However, since 1992, CADCA has demonstrated that when all sectors of a community come together —social change happens by using the coalition model.
Community coalitions bring together formal and informal leaders, both youth and adult, within the community to address local conditions involving prevalent substance abuse, such as underage drinking, marijuana use, and prescription drug abuse.
Coalitions are comprised of parents, youth, educators, law enforcement, the faith community, healthcare providers, social service providers, civic and government officials, business leaders, members of the media and other concerned citizens. The result is a comprehensive, community-wide approach to reduce substance abuse and its related problems. CADCA’s evidence-based environmental model focuses on changing laws, policies, practices, systems and attitudes – to transform the places we live, work and play.
Why Not Simply Talk to Kids or Teach Their Parents? Aren’t They the Problem?
So often we think of substance abuse prevention as primarily talking to kids or teaching parents. The community coalition model not only reaches far more people than these individual-focused approaches, but it also leads to more long-lasting effects. Sometimes the benefit of using this model is taught with a metaphor of ducks in a pond. “Our” kids who are apt to use substances are the scruffy, dirty ducks swimming in a mucky, dirty pond. The individual-focused approach would tell us to take a duck or maybe a flock or two of ducks out of the pond, clean them up with skills and information, and send them back to their murky waters where it will definitely be difficult for them to stay “clean”. The environmental, community coalition model teaches that people from all sectors of the community must “clean the pond” in their areas and with methods that effect the entire ponds, so that it is easier for all of our “ducks” to grow up clean and stay that way. Thus, it is possible for us to work together to change our communities making them healthier, safer, and easier for our children to grow up alcohol-, tobacco-, and other drug-free.
For more information on community coalitions and their effectiveness, see http://www.cadca.org/resources/detail/national-evaluation-finds-dfc-coalitions-effective-reducing-drug-use
For information on how to become involved in a local coalition, contact the Cherry Street Health Promotion office nearest you: Kent County (616.464.2946) or Montcalm County (989.831.4591), AmyBuckingham@CherryHealth.com.
Integrated Healthcare Works
Integrated care produces the best outcomes and is the most effective approach to caringfor people with complex healthcare needs.
Preventative Healthcare Helps Everyone
World Research Foundation
Medical research has come a long way, and as a result, people live much longer than they used to. While no one can argue that expanding the average person’s lifespan is good, many folks are not enjoying the quality of life that we would hope as they get older. Many of the elderly have chronic conditions that overwhelm their daily activities or they get diseases repeatedly, which ultimately raises health insurance premiums. Learning about and practicing preventive healthcare, i.e maintaining your body and good health throughout your entire lifetime, is properly the best method to prevent disease from happening in the first place.