By Marc Braithwaite, OD
Chief Optometrist, Department of Eye Services
We know, you’re busy. But just like you need to see your primary care provider on a regular basis for your physical, you need to see an eye doctor regularly to help keep your eyes healthy (whether you wear corrective eyewear or not). Many eye diseases don’t have symptoms in their early stages, and a thorough eye exam is the only way to uncover them. Each year, diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma rob people of their eyesight. Regular eye exams are simply the best way to detect (and prevent) serious eye problems. In addition to regular exams, taking the simple steps below can go a long way in protecting your eye health:
Wear Sunglasses. Just like your skin, it’s important to protect your eyes from harsh light and damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Whether prescription or non-prescription, make sure your sunglasses block out 99 to 100% of harmful UV rays (check the UV protection label).
Know Your Family History. Some eye diseases can be hereditary. If any of your family members have suffered from eye disease, be sure to inform your optometrist or ophthalmologist, as you may have an increased likelihood of eye problems. In addition, always let your eye doctor know about any pre-existing conditions including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Use Protective Eyewear. Whether you are working around the house or on the job, it’s important to wear protective safety glasses or goggles when appropriate. Eye injuries are more common than you think, and you can easily prevent them from occurring with the right equipment.
Eat Healthy and Don’t Smoke. Leading a healthy lifestyle is an important way to prevent many diseases of the eye. Eating foods like fish and dark green leafy vegetables can lower your risk of eye disease. Smoking can put you at greater risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and for cataracts. Your primary care provider can help you with supportive resources to help you quit smoking.
About Marc Braithwaite, OD
Dr. Marc Braithwaite was first introduced to optometry by his mother, who worked for an optometrist when he was in high school. “I always wanted to do something medical related and make a difference in people’s lives,” he explains. “So for me, optometry has been an ideal career.”
In his practice, Dr. Braithwaite often works with patients who have difficulty getting fitted for contact lenses. “Some people have diseases of...View profile View posts by this doctor