Vision care is about consistency and good habits. The consistency comes from staying on top of your eye exam appointments. Maintaining consistent communication with your optometrist can work to prevent any vision issues that may come up.
Low vision is one of those issues that can pop up.
But what is low vision? And what causes it? Let’s explore what low vision is and 7 tips to prevent low vision and protect your eyes.
What Is Low Vision?
Low vision is a permanent loss of sight that cannot be corrected with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Low vision doesn’t mean complete blindness—however, your sight will be extremely limited.
There are different types of low vision, which include:
- Loss of central vision—you have a blind spot in the center view of your vision.
- Loss of peripheral vision—you struggle to see anything to either side or above and below eye level.
- Blurred vision—trouble seeing objects both near and far.
- Hazy vision—your entire field of vision is covered by a film or glare.
- Night blindness—makes it difficult to see in low light situations.
The most common treatments for low vision are visual aids such as magnifying glasses to focus your vision. The condition itself includes different aspects of sight loss, and you may have a blind spot or even a near-complete loss of sight.
What Causes Low Vision?
With low vision, you may not be able to do things like drive safely, read or tell colors apart. The general causes of low vision are eye diseases and conditions.
Some of these eye diseases and conditions include:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Cataracts (cataract surgery may be an option to treat this)
- Genetics and infections
Low vision is more common in older adults because many of the conditions and diseases that can cause it are more common as you age. However, aging itself doesn’t cause low vision.
Treatment of low vision is rare and usually for cases like diabetic retinopathy. When this treatment isn’t an option, some visual aids can be helpful, which include:
- Telescopic glasses
- Lenses that filter light
- Magnifying glasses
- Handheld and freestanding magnifiers
- Reading prisms
Low vision is usually permanent, but let’s look at 7 tips to prevent low vision and protect your eyes.
7 Tips to Protect Your Eyes Against Low Vision
While low vision is there to stay, there are factors you can consider to combat the loss of sight and make it easier on your eyes.
Wear Protective Eyewear
When preserving vision, you should be careful in all settings, including protecting your eyes at work or when you’re playing sports.
When doing anything hazardous, it’s always a good idea not to risk it and any protective eye gear you may need.
Protective eyewear includes:
- Safety glasses
- Safety shields
- Eye guards
It’s essential to protect your eyes from possible damage, especially in high-risk situations.
Give Your Eyes a Break
We all know what it’s like to spend long hours in front of a screen. Whether it’s for work or just a hobby—giving your eyes a break from constant screen time can limit stress.
The 20-20-20 rule is a great practice to limit digital eye strain and get some necessary time away from the screen.
Consider Your Family’s Vision History
Preventive eye care is an initial line of defense against vision problems. At the same time, vision problems may arise whether you know about them or not. Knowing your family’s vision history with any eye problems can prepare you to deal with them.
Many eye conditions are hereditary, so talking with your family members can determine if you’re at a higher risk of developing an eye disease or condition.
Leave Smoking Behind
We all know smoking is bad for you overall, but it’s equally as bad for your eyes.
Smoking has been linked to age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage. All of which can lead to vision loss. Along with the well-known health benefits for the rest of your body, your vision will benefit greatly from staying far away from smoking.
Monitor Your Diet
Your diet is an important aspect of maintaining good eyesight. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential in preserving your sight.
Some foods to focus on include:
- Collard greens
- Fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut
Fish is high on omega-3 fatty acids, which can contribute to visual development and also prevent dry eyes.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is part of maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. Along with your diet and cutting out things like smoking, focusing on your fitness levels is essential.
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss.
Consistency With Your Eye Exams
Your optometrist is there to assist you and alleviate all your vision concerns. It’s essential to remain consistent with your yearly eye exams and continue to update your vision history.
No matter what your schedule is, make time to see your eye doctor and let them know about any concerns you may have.
Prevention is essential, and catching on to any vision issues early on can help treatment.
Preserving Your Vision
Your consistency with eye exams and communication with your optometrist is essential when it comes to vision care. Vision issues can be stressful, so it’s important to practice good habits and give your vision the opportunities to succeed.
Book an appointment with your optometrist to learn more about vision care and protect your vision today.