A study finds about one in three Iowa parents have never taken their child for a vision check. May is Healthy Vision Month and a reminder that everyone needs regular eye exams. Optometrist Michael Slusky says most people assume if they can see well, all is okay with their eyes.
“If I’m seeing well, my eyes should be pretty good,” Dr. Slusky says. “Well, the importance of that annual eye exam by a trained eye care provider is to ensure not only that you’re seeing to your best ability but to check for eye diseases. Many eye diseases can go undetected for years before an individual can start to have symptoms.” Many Iowans have jobs outdoors — folks like construction workers, farmers, outdoor market vendors. Slusky says these are the ones who really need to be careful with their eyes because the sun isn’t kind. He says wearing a hat with a brim is a tremendously effective way of blocking the rays…along with:
“U-V blocking sunglasses, but not all sunglasses are effective at blocking U-V light. For example, if the sunglasses are setting further away from the face or if it’s a narrow frame, light can pass in through the side or bounce off the ground and be reflected from below into your eyes.” He say surfaces like water, grass or sand reflect light. Slusky says as summer nears, children will be spending much more time outdoors and parents need to insist the kids wear proper eye protection.
“Eighty-percent of the U-V exposures we receive over a lifetime actually occurs before we reach the age of 18,” he says. “It’s so important for parents out there to put a hat on them. Put a pair of sunglasses on them. Kids have larger pupils and they’re outside a lot more than we are, about three-times as much.” Slusky says it is possible to suffer sunburn on our corneas, which is the window to our eyes. That can contribute to cataract formation over a lifetime.
By Karla James