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5 Vision-Saving Tips for National Save Your Vision Month

March is here. And you know what that means… 

 

It’s National Save Your Vision Month! 

 

In honor of this special month, which not only signals the start of spring but reminds us to protect our eyes, we’ve put together a list of 5 essential ways that you can ‘save your vision.’

 

It goes without saying that routine eye exams are a top priority when it comes to taking care of your eyes, so here are 5 additional things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

You’re likely aware that a balanced diet consists of all different types of nutritious foods that contain the vitamins and nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and strong.

  

But did you know that certain foods actually promote eye health and can lower your risk of eye disease? 

Eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, can protect your eye health and help save your vision from sight-threatening eye diseases, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

If you don’t think your daily meals offer enough of these essential vitamins and nutrients, ask your doctor whether you should add a daily supplement to your diet.

2. Limit Screen Time

The digital world has created a new venue for working, communicating, socializing and  entertainment. But it’s also brought about a new eye condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS) — also called digital eye strain (DES) — that’s a growing concern among eye care professionals. 

Not only can too much screen time affect productivity in work and school, but it can also result in dry, red, irritated eyes, blurry vision, headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain, and even have a negative effect on your mood and quality of sleep. 

So this month, take it upon yourself to be more aware of how much time you spend in front of a digital screen, and try to set boundaries whenever possible for you and your children. You can also practice the 20-20-20 rule — every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds. 

3. Use Protective Eyewear

Every day, thousands of people receive emergency care for an eye-related accident — many of them resulting in permanent damage and vision loss.

 

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by wearing protective eyewear for all activities that pose an eye health risk — from sports and water gun fights to lightsaber tournaments and science experiments. And, of course, this also implies any type of home-improvement project that involves small particles like grass, saw dust or metal flying into your eye. 

 

Protective eyewear can truly save your vision. 

4. Wear Sunglasses All Year Round

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory to enhance your look. They shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can damage your vision and lead to serious eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. 

Now you have an even better excuse to go out and buy yourself the new pair of shades you’ve been dreaming about. Just make sure they offer 100% UV protection. 

Wear your new sunglasses all year round, even on cloudy and snowy days, because the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off the snow-covered ground, doubling your exposure.

5. Quit Smoking

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, now’s the time! Smoking is not only dangerous for your overall health, it increases your risk for sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

So, for the sake of your vision and overall health, take the first steps toward kicking your smoking habit. 

In honor of National Save Your Vision Month, why not try some of these vision-saving habits that can help you keep your eyes and vision healthy for a lifetime. Your future self will thank you.

 

Interested in learning more about how you can protect your eyes and vision? Contact Eye Care Associates in Flagstaff today to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and to offer you the best possible eye care. 

 

Q & A

 

Do children need to wear sunglasses?

 

Yes, sunglasses are essential for protecting your child’s eyes both now and in the future. A child’s eyes are still maturing and are therefore even more susceptible to UV damage than adults. Encourage your child to wear sunglasses whenever they play outside by setting a good example and making sure to wear sunglasses whenever you venture outdoors. 

 

What are sports goggles?

Sports goggles are a type of protective eyewear worn by many athletes. These goggles contain impact resistant, durable polycarbonate lenses, offering the ultimate eye protection during sports activities. If you or your child play sports, sports goggles are an essential accessory to your athletic gear. 

 

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Eye Care Associates works to reduce local contact lens waste… By KAITLIN OLSON, Sun Staff Reporter

one by one chris

Photo credit, of Chris McQuivey, OD holding disposable blister packs, goes to Jake Bacon of the Arizona Daily Sun.

Even contact lenses can – and should – be recycled, says Dr. Chris McQuivey of Eye Care Associates.

The local practice has partnered with Bausch and Lomb, a Canadian eye health products company, to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and their packaging in Flagstaff – one of only two local practices to do so.

Whether thrown away or discarded down a sink or toilet, contact lenses are polluting landfills and waterways because they are too small and durable to be processed by typical recycling facilities. The Bausch and Lomb program allows lens wearers to recycle both lenses and their packaging (blister packs) for free through participating eye care providers or by mail.

Any contact lens wearer, not just patients at the practice, can drop off their old lenses and blister packaging to the Eye Care Associates office during regular business hours. The process is simple: separate the blister foil from the plastic and place both pieces in the green ONE by ONE box, along with any old lenses.

one by one contact

Eye Care Associates has partnered with Bausch and Lomb to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and blister packaging in Flagstaff. Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun

 

All contact lenses, no matter the type or brand, can be recycled through this program. The cardboard boxes in which the contact lenses arrive should be recycled through local recycling services, not the Bausch and Lomb program. Old lens materials can also be mailed directly from home by printing a free shipping label from the ONE by ONE webpage.

Though small, and nearly imperceptible when worn, contact lenses have produced exponentially more waste throughout the years as they became more disposable. Annual lenses were phased out, and daily disposable lenses became a popular replacement, bringing with them 728 more disposable blister packs per year. OOGP, Eye Care Associates’ contact lens distributer, revealed that 58 percent of the practice’s contact lens sales were daily replacements.

“We probably have 10,000 blister packs just sitting right here,” McQuivey said of the practice’s in-office supply of sample disposable lenses, which include daily, biweekly and monthly varieties.

More and more optometrists are encouraging patients to switch to daily disposables because they are safer, cleaner and overall healthier options for the eye than their longer-term counterparts. The amount of generated waste, though, has been a concern for some of McQuivey’s patients.

This recycling program is designed to combat those concerns. Since the program started in late 2016, Bausch and Lomb reports recycling more than four million lens items totaling over 25,000 pounds. There are currently more than 2,000 participating practices throughout the country; locally, Eye Care Associates is joining Flagstaff Eye Care to offer this service.

McQuivey said, because contact lenses are so small, wearers often do not consider the ramifications of throwing away – or worse, flushing – their old lenses, which often end up in landfills or waterways. The lenses are small enough to be eaten by fish and other wildlife, who are later consumed by humans.

 

one by one recycling

Eye Care Associates has partnered with Bausch and Lomb to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and blister packaging in Flagstaff. Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun

“It’s nonbiodegradable plastic. It can’t be biodegradable because it’s in your eyeball,” McQuivey said. “They’re too small, they go through all of the separators. And the little foil packs are recyclable, but most municipalities won’t recycle them.”

Bausch and Lomb is working with TerraCycle, a company which specializes in recycling the “non-recyclable.” According to its website, “TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste.” This partnership allows the recycling program to be completely free to all consumers and practices.

Once the materials have been collected, TerraCycle will separate the lenses from their blister packs and clean them. The foil is recycled separately, while the lenses and blister packs are melted together to form other products.

“I hope everyone does it,” said Rebecca McQuivey, marketing manager at Eye Care Associates. “It’s a simple way to save on a whole lot of waste that is bad for the environment and for us.”

There is a limit to the number of practices that can participate in the recycling program, based on the quantity of waste that TerraCycle can recycle at one time. Eye Care Associates started earlier this month, after being waitlisted for about month. All interested practices can register online, but are also encouraged to speak with their Bausch and Lomb representative if they would like to participate.

As part of the program, for every shipment of 10 pounds or more from practices and two pounds or more from consumers, Bausch and Lomb will donate $1 per pound of donated materials to Optometry Giving Sight, a nonprofit that provides basic eye care services to people without access to them.

Eye Care Associates is located at 940 N. Switzer Canyon Drive, Suite 101, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001. For more information on contact lens recycling locations, or to print a free shipping label, visit www.BauschRecycles.com.

one by one az daily sun

Eye Care Associates works to reduce local contact lens waste KAITLIN OLSON Sun Staff Reporter

Kaitlin Olson can be reached at the office at kolson@azdailysun.com or by phone at (928) 556-2253.

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