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For Healthy Eyes, Take the Long View
Keeping your eyes healthy is important, and if you follow basic rules for your general health, it is possible to avoid long-term problems. Here are some tips:
Eat right, stay at a healthy weight and exercise. Eye doctors back a diet that helps control blood pressure and blood sugars and helps maintain a healthy weight. Patients should stay fit and avoid the types of fast food that can fuel obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Any of these conditions can reduce blood flow to the macula (the center of the retina at the back of the eye). The health of the macula depends on a good supply of blood.
Don't smoke. Most eye doctors agree smoking is bad for your eyes. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop cataracts (a clouding of the lens) and macular degeneration.
Get an annual diabetes checkup. Diabetes is the leading cause of adult blindness, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Add kale, spinach and broccoli to your diet. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in these and other leafy vegetables may help head off macular degeneration.
Eat more fish and nuts. They may help lower your risk for advanced macular degeneration.
Wear sunglasses. Look for a pair that blocks ultraviolet A, ultraviolet B, and blue rays.
Get eye exams as recommended by your eye care provider to detect conditions early.
See the eye doctor if you have:
Blurred or double vision
Pain in your eyes or pressure behind your eyeballs
Difficulty reading signs and books or the loss of peripheral (side) vision
Flashes of light or floating debris that blocks your vision
Wavy lines when you should be seeing straight lines
Any sudden change in your vision
The goal of Low Vision Rehabilitation is to provide training and education for individuals with visual impairment and their families in order to increase their safety and independence in
performing daily tasks. By giving hope and helping with their independence, many clients can remain safely in their own environment and continue to enjoy their activities.
Common conditions treated:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Macular degeneration
- Neurological injuries
Our occupational therapists have received extensive advanced training, and many have a specialty certificate in low vision. They can provide training and education with all types of magnification, low vision devices, and adaptive techniques to help clients learn new ways to perform daily activities such as reading, paying bills, food preparation or taking medication. Low vision services can be provided in your home or at the clinic at our Cork Street location in Winchester. A home evaluation is provided for lighting recommendations and environmental modifications to increase independence and safety.
How to Get Started
If you think low vision services can assist you, ask your eye doctor or physician for a referral. Call 540-536-5130 to make an appointment. Vision rehabilitation is covered under Medicare, and many insurance companies will reimburse the cost of this occupational therapy service.
Free diabetic retinopathy screenings
are offered quarterly by Low Vision Services, Diabetes Management and Retina Associates.