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May 19, 2021

It’s Healthy Vision Month!

The month of May is Healthy Vision Month, a month very near and dear to the team at Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12 million people 40 years and over in the United States have vision impairment and roughly 6.8% of children younger than 18 years have a diagnosed eye and vision condition. While many people are born with irreversible blindness, early detection and timely treatment of eye conditions have been found to be effective and cost-effective in improving, and in some cases reversing, the issue. To help raise awareness of Healthy Vision Month, here are the top three facts you should know about your vision.

90% of blindness caused by diabetes is preventable

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in diabetics ages 20 to 74. The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes and at first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include: spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters), blurred vision, fluctuating vision and impaired color vision and usually affects both eyes.

Did you know? According to Retina Today, pregnancy may worsen diabetic retinopathy, so if you’re pregnant, your eye doctor may recommend additional eye exams throughout your pregnancy.


Annual eye exams are your best defense against visual impairments

Routine eye exams are straightforward, quick and painless. Most doctors recommend screening your vision on an annual basis to ensure your vision prescription is up to date (or to determine you need one) and to make sure your eyes are healthy. Regular eye exams are the first line of defense against eye disorders, such as chronic dry eye, inflammation, glaucoma, age-related issues and cataracts.

During your annual eye exam, optometrists typically perform a variety of tests to assess your eye health. This may include a color sensitivity test, peripheral vision test, a glaucoma (or “air puff” test) and a cover test to determine how well your eyes work together. Other tests may include pupillary reactions that use a light to check your pupils’ responsiveness and a slit light test. During a slit light test (also called a biomicroscope), the doctor will shine a vertical bar of light into your eye to magnify your eye’s surface and inspect for abnormalities on the cornea, iris and lens.


Facial sunscreen and sunglasses are a great way to safeguard your eyes

According to Skincancer.org, UV radiation can cause serious eye conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration (a major cause of vision loss for people over age 60) and keratitis, otherwise known as corneal sunburn. Nearly all of these sun-related eye conditions can be treated in some way, alleviating the side effects if not reversing the process altogether.

It’s best to protect yourself from the sun and prevent the damage before it starts. The best way to do that is to wear sunscreen with water-resistant, broad-spectrum coverage and an SPF of 30 or higher, UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat each time you go outside.


Clovernook Center’s Pediatric Low Vision Program provides support to children with visual impairments ages 2-21

Each year, Clovernook Center’s Pediatric Low Vision Clinic (in partnership with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Ophthalmology Department) helps more than 180 children ages 2-21 who have vision loss or blindness. By offering more extensive testing for color, lighting, and contrast perception, children can receive a more detailed prognosis than standard vision screenings. Most visitors and families leave with a sense of relief and hope, having answers and tools their children need in order to live a life that many of us take for granted.

Learn more about Clovernook Center’s Pediatric Low Vision Clinic by clicking here.

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