This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my review.
Helping moms raise happy, healthy families is one of my primary goals. Chances are, when you think about being healthy, you picture an active lifestyle and nutritious meals. Health is much broader than that though, which is why I also cover topics like dental health, mental health, and stress management. One aspect of our health that is often overlooked is vision. There are many reasons you should think about your eyes when you are working towards or living a healthy lifestyle.
Vision is something you take for granted until you start having trouble. In fact, if you check out the gifographic below, you’ll see that in a survey of health-conscious individuals, most of the participants didn’t take eye health seriously.
The reality is, your eyes are muscles. And just like the other muscles in your body, they require proper care and maintenance to stay in optimum condition. Here are more reasons you should think about your eyes before there’s a problem.
Negative Effects on Learning and Behavior
I’m not a doctor, so my knowledge about the negative effects of poor vision on learning and behavior are based on my own experiences. I got glasses when I was 11, after I failed a test that was projected on an overhead. Since I was shy and at a new school, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself by raising my hand and telling the teacher I couldn’t read the questions on the screen. The counselor called me into her office to try and understand why my placement test scores had been so high and yet I had failed the classroom test. She was flabbergasted when I explained I simply couldn’t see the screen well enough to read the questions. How many important pieces of knowledge had I missed in classes since I couldn’t read anything written on a chalkboard or projected on an overhead? My parents were even more shocked since they had no idea I was having trouble seeing.
Did you know that 80% of learning occurs through our eyes? Imagine how much information our children are missing if their vision is impaired! I don’t think this is something most parents consider since 60% of parents don’t think eye exams are essential. Only 50% of parents take their children for an eye exam before age 6 even though doctors recommend that children should see an eye doctor THREE times by the age of 6. I have to admit that even with my concern that my children would get my poor eyesight, I didn’t take them for eye doctor visits until I thought there was a problem. I laugh at my ignorance now in hindsight. Eye doctors can identify so many things that affect vision (i.e. eye health, focus, visual tracking ability), often in time to correct some problems before they cause permanent damage. I wish I had taken this aspect of preventative treatment more seriously when they were younger. (Statistics from Think About Your Eyes – a national public awareness campaign to promote eye health.)
The Need for Regular Screening
Because I had vision problems as a child, I watched my own kids closely for evidence of impaired vision. I caught my son’s vision problems early as a result, but learned a valuable lesson the first year about making sure I took him for his annual visit to the eye doctor. My son’s very first appointment to get glasses was at the beginning of the school year. A year later, things at home were chaotic (as usual for the start of a new school year) so I kept putting off making an appointment. By the time we had settled into our new schedule and I made the appointment, it had been 14 months between his eye appointments. His vision had gotten much worse over that year. So much so, in fact, that WITH his glasses on, he was seeing about as well as he was the year prior with NO glasses. Apparently this is common in kids since as they go through growth spurts, the shape of their eyes can change.
Adult Eye Health
Once you’re an adult and don’t experience growth spurts, you still need to think about your eyes. As you age, your lenses will become stiffer and denser making it harder to focus on close objects and to see in dim light. This is why so many adults eventually end up with reading glasses and have increased difficulty driving at night. Other common effects of aging on your eyes are a difference in how colors are perceived and impaired depth perception. As you get older, you might also notice that your eyes are drier. An eye doctor can help identify these problems early and also work to find solutions to prevent these changes from interfering with your life.
Beyond problems with your eye health, an eye doctor is also sometimes able to detect other health problems by examining your eyes. Did you know that health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes can be detected in your eyes?
What You Should Do Now
Hopefully you realize that eye health is a critical component of your overall health. So now what?
The first step is to find an eye doctor if you don’t already have one. Then schedule appointments for everyone in the family if you haven’t had your eyes checked in the past year.
Going forward, talk to our eye doctor about whether you and your family members should have follow up appointments annually or every two years and make sure you set up reminders to schedule those appointments in the future.
If you still have questions or simply want to learn more, visit the Think About Your Eyes website. The site has a lot of great information on all things related to eye health from what to expect at an eye exam to information about specific eye problems and diseases.