Practicing Healthy Eye Habits on World Sight Day
Oct 12, 2023
Accessible and affordable eye care is something that should be available to everyone. The unfortunate reality is that over a billion people around the world are affected by vision loss, predominately those in low- and middle-income countries. The good news is that International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (or IAPB) is on a mission to change that through their annual awareness event, World Sight Day.
What is World Sight Day?
Observed each year on the second Thursday in October, World Sight Day brings awareness to the issues of blindness and vision impairment across the globe, with the ultimate goal of ensuring vision care is available, accessible, and affordable for all.
This year’s theme for World Sight Day emphasizes the importance of eye care in the workplace, encouraging eye safety protocols and preventative initiatives such as making eye health benefits for employees a standard practice. Additionally, the IAPB calls on individuals to prioritize their own visual health through healthy eye habits.
Simple Ways to Support Your Eye Health
It is believed that 90% of vision loss is either preventable or treatable. One of the best things you can do for your visual health is to attend regular comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist. Even if you have 20/20 vision, a dilated comprehensive eye exam can detect unknown concerns pertaining to both ocular conditions and your general health, including the diagnosis of diabetes, brain tumors, vitamin deficiencies, and more. In addition to regular eye exams, there are several other ways you can support your eye health on World Sight Day and every day.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes during prolonged hours outside. Polarized lenses offer maximum UV protection, reduce eye strain, and minimize glare from reflected light.
- Avoid smoking! Smoking puts you at a higher risk for ocular diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and the premature development of cataracts.
- Practice proper contact lens care. Using daily contact lenses is considered the most hygienic option for contact lens wearers. Habits such as keeping your contact lenses clean, taking them out before bed, and never wearing them in the pool, ocean, or shower can greatly improve your chances of preventing unwanted eye infections.
Keeping Your Eyes Healthy at Work
Incorporating these eye safety tips into your everyday routine is a great start towards optimal visual health, but there are a few more simple adjustments you can make specific to the office/workplace to safeguard your vision. Many of us strive to have a healthy balance between work and our personal lives, spending plenty of relaxing or leisure time outside of the long hours at work. Finding that healthy work life balance is extremely important, especially when it comes to your visual health. In addition to a healthy work life balance, there are a few small changes to the way you manage screen time at work that can make a big difference!
- Blink often! It’s easy to forget, especially for those working behind a computer screen all day. Blinking keeps the surface of your eyes clean and lubricated.
- Maintain proper eye-to-screen distance. Maintain roughly an arm’s length distance from large screens, such as your computer or TV, and keep your phone at least 12 inches away from your face.
- Adjust your computer screen for optimal viewing. It is recommended to view computer screens while looking slightly downward. Position your screen 15 – 20 degrees below eye level, when measured from the center of the screen. Eliminate any glare from other light sources and adjust the brightness of your display to a comfortable level to avoid eye strain.
- Take quick, healthy breaks with the 20-20-20 rule! For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20 second break and gaze at something at least 20 feet away. This rule also applies to other near work such as reading, writing, and crafting.
While these tips are specific to the office, they can be applied at home while you are using an electronic device.
Our Commitment to Vision Care for All
World Sight Day is every day for us at Wilmington Eye. The opportunity to improve an individual’s ability to see and feel better is a privilege like none other! Many of our providers have participated in medical mission work providing free eye care and critical eye surgeries to those without access to quality vision care. Our very own, Dr. Melissa Shipley provided eye care services to children and families in Guatemala in the early days of her career. Today, Dr. Shipley continues her impactful work offering specialized surgical care for children and infants with unique eye care needs in the Wilmington and surrounding area.
See Dr. Shipley’s compilation video of her time providing free eye care to Guatemalan families.
Accessing Vision Care in Wilmington and Beyond
It has always been our goal to expand access to specialty vision care. Today, our practice includes three Wilmington offices, a surgery center, plus locations in Scotts Hill, Leland, Southport, and Carolina Shores. Our providers also travel to hospitals and other medical practices to see patients in Jacksonville, Whiteville, Burgaw, Elizabethtown, and beyond. With Wilmington Eye, patients can be seen for the full spectrum of eye conditions including preventative care, surgical needs, and ocular disease management.
Challenges such as affordability and transportation can keep many of us from receiving quality vision care. If budget constraints are keeping you or a loved one from quality vision care, visit our Financing & Self Pay page for solutions. For affordable transportation options, consider scheduling your appointment at one of our offices located near a bus stop, such as our New Hanover Medical Park Drive and Mayfaire offices. The Wave Transit website includes maps of all Wilmington bus routes, along with affordable ride share options to areas like Pender and Brunswick counties.
One of the biggest obstacles standing between patients and quality eye care is being unaware of underlying issues. Often symptoms can begin subtly and progress gradually over time, until they become a normal, unnoticed part of your everyday experience. These subtle changes are exactly why having regular eye exams are so important! Here are some of the common symptoms we see patients for:
- persistent dry eye
- seeing haloes around lights at night
- eyes drifting in and out
- asymmetric eye alignment
- children holding books too close or leaning in too close while writing
If you or your child are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s time to schedule your appointment to rule out any potential health concerns. Early intervention is key when it comes to preventing vision loss!
World Sight Day, Every Day!
Today and every day we strive towards a future where quality eye care is available for everyone. Accessible vision care on a global level may be an overwhelming feat, but there are many things we can do as individuals to maintain our own eye health. We can also make an impact locally by encouraging our loved ones to care for their eyes. Share this post with someone you know so we can all practice healthy eye habits and work towards a future with better eye health for all!
For more information on the global efforts of World Sight Day and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness visit https://www.iapb.org.