*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.
I can clearly still see my grandmother sitting at her kitchen table with her head in her hands crying. I was in my late teens and will never forget the sight of her in despair.
Why this moment sticks out in my mind isn’t just because I never actually saw my grandmother cry or that it tore my heart apart to see her so very upset, but was because what she was crying over was something that she was proactive about all of the years that I knew her to be my grandmother.
See, it was at this point in her life that she was told that she had macular degeneration.
But what exactly is macular degeneration?
According to Wikipedia, macular degeneration is a medical condition which may result in blurred or no vision in the center of the visual field. Early on there are often no symptoms. Over time, however, some people experience a gradual worsening of vision that may affect one or both eyes. While it does not result in complete blindness, loss of central vision can make it hard to recognize faces, drive, read, or perform other activities of daily life.
Is was a great fear to my grandmother from her younger years that she would go blind as her own mother (my great-grandmother) actually did.
So, my grandmother took special care to get eye exams annually and would even tell me growing up that she did eye exercises that she was shown by her eye doctor to do at home.
In essence, this was her greatest fear coming true. But never did she let on exactly how scared she was for this to happen and was one of the most courageous person I knew having taken care of her blind mother for years, as well as her father too, who lived to be 103 years old.
Although, once she was diagnosed with macular degeneration, she gradually accepted her fate, but in those early days she cried a lot even though she was told she wouldn’t ever be completely blind, she knew that she would slowly loss a good portion of her vision. It killed her to know that she wouldn’t most likely be able to see my mom (her daughter), myself and more as the years would go by clearly anymore.
Just ironic, that even though she took care of her eyes all her life that she ended up being afflicted with macular degeneration. Sadly, even though she was diagnosed in the early stages, her diagnosis came before they truly knew more about this eye disorder as if she would have been found with this nowadays there are indeed treatment to help keep the onset from coming on as quickly and even more.
Yet this was also a woman, who also felt responsible on some level genetically speaking for passing down her near-sighted vision to me (her only granddaughter) at a fairly young age. See I was diagnosed, after having trouble reading the school blackboard during my second grade year in elementary school, with being near-sighted. So it was years of annual eye exams, wearing glasses and contacts for me growing up. It was my grandmother that gifted me Lasik surgery to correct my near-sighted eye vision for my college graduation, so that I wouldn’t need to wear any corrective lenses anymore.
Still though never could, I be more thankful or appreciative of my grandmother doing this for me, but also for my grandmother’s advice on how important it is to take care of my own eyes over the years.
Even now almost 6 years after she passed on, knowing not only my genetic makeup from my own great-grandmother going blind to my grandmother having macular degeneration in her later years of her life, I still go annually for vision checkups, because this simply is something that still hits home for me.
Plus, because of this I know we should never take for granted the one part, which we take in the world – our eyes. Just like all other muscles, our eyes need regular care to maintain maximum performance.
With this in mind, here are five tips to help keep your eyes healthy:
The first line of protection is to make sure you eat healthy. See nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and even vitamins C and E might help ward off eye issues that may be age-related, such as macular degeneration. So eating these types of foods regularly can indeed help with maintaining good eye health.
2. Wear sunglasses.
When I got Lasik eye surgery, I remember being told to make sure to wear a descent pair of sunglasses with polarized lens if possible. This is simply because the right type of sunglasses will protect our eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, because too much UV exposure makes you more likely to get cataracts and macular degeneration.
3. Also use protective safety eyewear.
If you play sports or working with hazardous materials, then you will want to make sure to wear safety glasses or protective goggles, because they protect and shield your eyes during these possible dangerous activities for eyes.
4. Try to keep screen time to a minimum.
Focusing your eyes on computer, mobile devices or even TV’s can cause eye strain, blurriness headaches, dry eyes and more. So, try to rest your eyes every 20 minutes by even looking away for at least 20 seconds. And every 2 hours, get up and take a 15-minute break at the very least.
5. Visit the eye doctor regularly.
Last but not least, just as my grandmother advised, make sure to visit the eye doctor regularly. Because by getting an annual comprehensive eye exam, many eye problems, such as macular degeneration, can be detected at their earliest stages when they’re most treatable.
That is why I was so happy to find out that Think About Your Eyes website exists and is running a national public awareness campaign that promotes the benefits of eye health, urging people to get annual comprehensive eye exams. Think About Your Eyes also has an eye care professional locator to find an eye doctor near you and schedule an exam.
Think About Your Eyes even compiled a Gifographic, which shows some interesting vision eye care facts from surveying members of national fitness center chain Life Time Fitness, including that some gym-goers neglect their eye health despite being very conscious of their body health and fitness.
Which is just plain sad, because as my own grandmother once again taught me that just like all our other muscles, eyes need regular care to maintain maximum performance, as well.
Now, take a look at the Think About Your Eyes Gifographic to find out more of the surveyed results for yourself now:
Do you get your eyes checked regularly?