Men's Eyes: How to Protect Your Vision

IMAGE Many people dislike seeking medical care for any reason. But when it comes to changes in your vision, do yourself a favor and get to your eye doctor. Early intervention may allow you to avoid complications that can occur if you wait. But why wait? There are ways to take care of your eyes before changes occur. One way to do that is to get into the habit of protecting them, whether you are at work or at play.In general, men suffer more eye accidents than women. You should wear eye protectors around power equipment and while playing sports, such as racquetball or squash. Eye injuries can also occur when doing something simple like hammering nails. Unfortunately, most men do not always think about wearing eye protection.The 3 primary types of eye protection—safety glasses, safety goggles, and face shields—are sometimes worn in combination.For any activity that involves chipping, grinding, riveting, sanding, hammering, or masonry, safety goggles should always be worn. Experts also say that handling chemicals, including those used on lawns, requires goggles. The best goggles are those where the sides touch the skin all around, as particles or chemicals can still fly up under glasses that are open on the sides. A face shield is often required if there are large flying objects or lots of debris.

When the World Turns Blurry

One of the most consistent and predictable aging phenomena usually occurs in your 40s when you begin having difficulty focusing on close images, such as a book. You must either hold printed matter at arm's length, or if nearsighted, take off your glasses entirely to clearly see what you are reading. This phenomenon is termed presbyopia. The reason for the vision inconsistency is due to changes in the eye from normal aging. The lens of the eye becomes less pliable, and thus is unable to focus on close images. If you have always had normal vision, you may need a pair of reading glasses. They are inexpensive and available in most retail locations. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, your current prescription may need an adjustment. Other treatments include contact lenses and surgery. Talk to your eye doctor about the best options for you.

Catching Eye Problems Before They Start

Eye doctors screen for disorders that, when caught early, can avert major problems later on. The American Optometric Association recommends the following schedule for those of average risk and without symptoms:
  • Age 18-60 years: every 2 years
  • Age 61 years and older: every year
If you have eye problems or fall into a high-risk group for problems, you may need to be examined more frequently, like 1-2 times per year. You and your doctor will arrange a regular exam schedule that works for both of you. This may be needed if you have:
  • Risk factors for glaucoma or other eye diseases
  • Any other eye diseases that are inherited
  • History of retinal detachment
  • Had a serious eye injury in the past
  • Persistent visual loss
  • Diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic illness that may affect vision
Cautionary Note: If you currently have eye symptoms, you should call your provider immediately for an evaluation. If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

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